Debarati Ghosh, Fellowship in Optometry

Optometrist, Dr Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital


Myopia is still a pandemic(1), an example of a pandemic is COVID-19, currently sweeping throughout the world .Albeit Myopia is a more silent issue than COVID-19, and it directly affects a large and ever-growing percentage of the population. High myopia carries risks such as loss of vision due to retinal detachment and glaucoma. If left unchecked, the future will undoubtedly witness a greater burden of mostly preventable visual impairment. Myopia mostly accompanied with elongated eyeball or Cornea/Lens Curvature.

Treatments include corrective lenses or LASIK. Moreover, the evidence is starting to show that sunlight has special properties beneficial to vision health. The quality of artificial light and nutrition also play roles.


What causes Myopia?


Did you ever hear that excessive close-up work causes myopia? This is not the absolute truth. Research does not necessarily find a relationship between myopia and the amount of close work.(1) Lack of exposure to sunlight appears to be another possible cause. More time outside meant less myopia.(2)


How does increased outdoor time help to control myopia?

Sun exposure helps to increase Vitamin D production. Besides getting vitamin D through sunlight, we can also absorb it through certain foods and supplements. A recent investigation(3) which was done in Australia stated that the prevalence of myopia was significantly higher in individuals with vitamin D deficiency as compared to the individuals with sufficient levels.



Several studies(1) have proven that there is a correlation between outdoor activities and the onset of myopia. Outdoor lights stimulate the production of factors in the retina including retinal Dopamine (a chemical, messenger for light adaptation in eyes), which can help to slow down eye growth.

Exposing your eyes to sunlight activates cytochrome oxidase, a part of mitochondria in the cells. The retina’s cellular activity increases. This increases antioxidant properties. A deficiency of cytochrome oxidase appears to contribute to macular degeneration.(2)


Scientists often find themselves in the middle of controversy as there are different opinions about whether UV is good or bad. We should always avoid the hottest sun between 11 am to 3 pm. There is no fixed rule on how much time can spend under the sun. Some studies (1) show that people with fairer skin absorb UV easily than those with darker skin tones.  Hence the amount of time to spend under the sun will differ for every individual.




  1. Dwight H Ackerman,(2020). Is Myopia a Pandemic? Review of Myopia Management (
  2. Saw SM, Carkeet A, Chia KS, Stone RA, Tan DT. Component dependent risk factors for ocular parameters in Singapore Chinese children. Ophthalmology. 2002 Nov 1;109(11):2065-71.
  3. Rose KA, Morgan IG, Ip J, Kifley A, Huynh S, Smith W, Mitchell P. Outdoor activity reduces the prevalence of myopia in children. Ophthalmology. 2008 Aug 1;115(8):1279-85.
  4. Yazar S, Hewitt AW, Black LJ, McKnight CM, Mountain JA, Sherwin JC, Oddy WH, Coroneo MT, Lucas RM, Mackey DA. Myopia is associated with lower vitamin D status in young adults. Investigative ophthalmology & visual science. 2014 Jul 1;55(7):4552-9.
  5. Guggenheim JA, Northstone K, McMahon G, Ness AR, Deere K, Mattocks C, Pourcain BS, Williams C. Time outdoors and physical activity as predictors of incident myopia in childhood. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2012;53(6):2856-65.
  6. Barron MJ, Johnson MA, Andrews RM, Clarke MP, Griffiths PG, Bristow E, He LP, Durham S, Turnbull DM. Mitochondrial abnormalities in ageing macular photoreceptors. Investigative ophthalmology & visual science. 2001 Nov 1;42(12):3016-22.
  7. D’Orazio J, Jarrett S, Amaro-Ortiz A, Scott T. UV radiation and the skin. International journal of molecular sciences. 2013 Jun;14(6):12222-48.