Aim: To investigate the relationship of outdoor activities and myopia in Singapore teenage children.
Methods: Teenage children (1249 participants), examined in the Singapore Cohort study Of Risk factors for Myopia (SCORM), during 2006 were included in analyses. Participants completed questionnaires that quantified total outdoor activity, and underwent an eye examination.
Results: The mean total time spent on outdoor activity was 3.24 hours per day. Total outdoor activity (hours per day) was significantly associated with myopia, odds ratio 0.90 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.84, 0.96] (p=0.004), after adjusting for age, gender, ethnicity, school type, books read per week, height, parental myopia, parental education and intelligence quotient. In addition, total time spent outdoors was associated with significantly less myopic refraction (regression coefficient = 0.17; CI 0.10, 0.25, p<0.001) and shorter axial length (regression coefficient -0.06 (CI -0.1, -0.03, p<0.001). Total sports was also significantly negatively associated with myopia (p=0.008), but not indoor sports (p=0.16).
Conclusions: Participants who spent more time outdoors were less likely to be myopic. Thus, outdoor activity may protect against development of myopia in children, supporting recent Australian data. As near work did not predict outdoor activity, this can be viewed as an independent factor and not merely the reciprocal of near work.