Time spent outdoors in childhood is associated with reduced risk of myopia as an adult

Gareth Lingham, Seyhan Yazar, Robyn M Lucas, Elizabeth Milne, Alex W Hewitt, Christopher J Hammond, Stuart MacGregor, Kathryn A Rose, Fred K Chen, Mingguang He, Jeremy A Guggenheim, Michael W Clarke, Seang-Mei Saw, Cathy Williams, Minas T Coroneo, Leon Straker, David A Mackey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Abstract

Myopia (near-sightedness) is an important public health issue. Spending more time outdoors can prevent myopia but the long-term association between this exposure and myopia has not been well characterised. We investigated the relationship between time spent outdoors in childhood, adolescence and young adulthood and risk of myopia in young adulthood. The Kidskin Young Adult Myopia Study (KYAMS) was a follow-up of the Kidskin Study, a sun exposure-intervention study of 1776 children aged 6–12 years. Myopia status was assessed in 303 (17.6%) KYAMS participants (aged 25–30 years) and several subjective and objective measures of time spent outdoors were collected in childhood (8–12 years) and adulthood. Index measures of total, childhood and recent time spent outdoors were developed using confirmatory factor analysis. Logistic regression was used to assess the association between a 0.1-unit change in the time outdoor indices and risk of myopia after adjusting for sex, education, outdoor occupation, parental myopia, parental education, ancestry and Kidskin Study intervention group. Spending more time outdoors during childhood was associated with reduced risk of myopia in young adulthood (multivariable odds ratio [OR] 0.82, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.69, 0.98). Spending more time outdoors in later adolescence and young adulthood was associated with reduced risk of late-onset myopia (≥ 15 years of age, multivariable OR 0.79, 95% CI 0.64, 0.98). Spending more time outdoors in both childhood and adolescence was associated with less myopia in young adulthood.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6337
Number of pages11
JournalScientific Reports
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the participants of the Kidskin Study and their families. The Kidskin Young Adult Myopia Study was supported by Perpetual Impact Philanthropy (IPAP2015/0230) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (1121979). The Kidskin Study was supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council (954601, 110221, 209057) and by the Cancer Foundation of Western Australia. GL receives financial support through an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

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