Increased UVB exposure associated with reduced risk of nearsightedness, particularly in teens, young

December 1, 2016

Higher ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation exposure, directly related to time outdoors and sunlight exposure, was associated with reduced odds of myopia (nearsightedness), and exposure to UVB between ages 14 and 29 years was associated with the highest reduction in odds of adult myopia, according to a study published online by JAMA Ophthalmology.

Myopia is a complex trait influenced by numerous environmental and genetic factors and is becoming more common worldwide, most dramatically in urban Asia, but rises in prevalence have also been identified in the United States and Europe. This has major implications, both visually and financially, for the global burden from this potentially sight-threatening condition.

Astrid E. Fletcher, Ph.D., of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and colleagues examined the association of myopia with UVB radiation, serum vitamin D concentrations and vitamin D pathway genetic variants, adjusting for in education. The study included a random sample of participants 65 years and older from 6 study centers from the European Eye Study. Of 4,187 participants, 4,166 attended an eye examination including refraction, gave a blood sample, and were interviewed by trained fieldworkers using a structured questionnaire. After exclusion for various factors, the final study group included 371 participants with myopia and 2,797 without.

The researchers found that an increase in UVB exposure at age 14 to 19 years and 20 to 39 years was associated with reduced odds of myopia; those in the highest tertile (group) of years of education had twice the odds of myopia. No independent associations between myopia and serum vitamin D3 concentrations or variants in genes associated with vitamin D metabolism were found. An unexpected finding was that the highest quintile (group) of plasma lutein concentrations was associated with reduced odds of myopia.

"The association between UVB, education, and myopia remained even after respective adjustment. This suggests that the high rate of associated with educational attainment is not solely mediated by lack of ," the authors write.

"As the protective effect of time spent outdoors is increasingly used in clinical interventions, a greater understanding of the mechanisms and life stages at which benefit is conferred is warranted."

Explore further: First-born in family more likely to be nearsighted; priority of education may be factor

More information: JAMA Ophthalmol. Published online December 1, 2016.DOI: 10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2016.4752

Related Stories

Time outdoors may reduce myopia in children

July 30, 2012

(HealthDay) -- Increasing time spent outdoors may reduce the development or progression of myopia in children and adolescents, according to a study published online July 20 in Ophthalmology.

Are our schools damaging children's eyes?

March 24, 2015

Shockingly, research has shown a dramatic increase in the number of students leaving secondary school with short-sightedness, or myopia, and a new study published in the Journal Perspectives in Public Health, published by ...

Gene leads to nearsightedness when kids read

August 31, 2015

Vision researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have discovered a gene that causes myopia, but only in people who spend a lot of time in childhood reading or doing other "nearwork."

Recommended for you

Zika can harm babies' vision, too

April 18, 2017

(HealthDay)—Although Zika virus is most well-known for the devastating neurological damage it can cause in the womb, a new study reports that some babies infected with Zika also may have lifelong vision impairment.

Scientists grow eye cells to fix corneas

April 17, 2017

A Stanford University research team has created a potentially powerful new way to fix damaged corneas—a major source of vision problems and blindness.

Everyone has different 'bad spots' in their vision

April 10, 2017

The ability to distinguish objects in peripheral vision varies significantly between individuals, finds new research from UCL, Paris Descartes University and Dartmouth College, USA. For example, some people are better at ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.