When a playground, is more than a playground

By: Our Courtenay Holden, Marketing and Communications Manager, Our Children's Vision

Children of all ages, on all continents can thrive when they have safe places to play. Unstructured play is powerful – it can expand children’s imaginations, challenge their brains, build their muscles, help them connect with their peers and potentially protect their sight. Outside play is matters!

Our Children’s Vision is proud to partner with Major League Baseball Players Trust and KaBOOM!, to support their efforts to bring outdoor, active play to the lives of America’s children. Together we are constructing a new playground in Opa-Locka, Florida, and providing free vision assessments - ensuring healthy muscles, minds and eyes!

Research tells us that, on a typical day, the average American child spends as much as seven hours on a screen.1 In this age of technology, we know that our children’s eyes have never had to work so hard and as a result, an increasing amount of children are developing with myopia (near-sightedness).

Myopia is quickly becoming a global epidemic. With rates estimated to affect 50% of the global population if current trends continue.2 If not treated and managed correctly, it has the potential to develop into high myopia – associated with an increased risk of blinding conditions such as myopic macular degeneration, cataract, retinal detachment and glaucoma.

To help prevent this happening, we know that it is critical to intervene while eyes are still developing, with new research suggesting that time outside before the age of six has the most protective effect.3

It is fairly simple, increased outdoor time helps protect children from developing myopia. An extra 1.25 hours a day (approximately) spent outside could reduce the risk of developing myopia by 50%.3

If parents needed another reason to get their children outside, myopia prevention is certainly one for the list. We want our children outside for their holistic health, and this new playground is more than a just a place to play. It is a brain-expander, a muscle-builder, a friend-maker, a community-shaper and potentially a sight saver.

Our Children’s Vision thanks partner organisations VSP Global - Eyes of Hope, Brien Holden Vision Institute, Vision for Life – Essilor, Optical Foundation, Vision Quest, Nova College of Optometry, and The Eye Care Institute (TECI) at Nova South-eastern University for their support in this initiative.

  1. American Academy of Paediatrics, Media and Children Communication Toolkit, https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/pages/media-and-children.aspx
  2. Global Prevalence of Myopia and High Myopia and Temporal trends from 2000 through 2050. Holden BA, Wilson D. et al. American Academy of Ophthalmology, May 2016. Volume 123, Issue 5, Pages 1036–1042.
  3. Xiong, S., Sankaridurg, P., Naduvilath, T., Zang, J., Zou, H., Zhu, J., Lv, M., He, X. and Xu, X. (2017), Time spent in outdoor activities in relation to myopia prevention and control: a meta-analysis and systematic review. Acta Ophthalmol. doi:10.1111/aos.13403




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