Sunlight can slow the progression of myopia in your child
Scientists have demonstrated that exposure to sunlight stimulates the dopamine produced by certain cells, called the amacrine cells. These cells can act to slow down the progression of myopia in your child. These cells are found in the retina but nobody knew what they were for. All they knew was that the amacrine cells produced dopamine. Now we know that dopamine is a molecule that has an anti-myopic role.
Therefore if the child’s eye is producing dopamine, particularly in high levels in sunlight, the eye is not looking for light and therefore it does not elongate, as is the case with the myopic process. In the individual with myopia, the eyeball is longer than that of a person without myopia, causing a refractive error with the result that the image seen is blurred on the retina.
Therefore myopia is not solely a problem of whether you are using a screen such as a laptop, desktop computer, tablet or mobile phone. Instead, the problem is that when you are looking at your screen you are more likely to be in very different, poorer light, meaning that you are not getting the necessary stimulation from sunlight. We all know that you cannot look at a screen and be in sunlight at the same time. It is one or the other.
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Naz Raoof, BA, BM BCh, FRCOphth
Ophthalmologist specialising in Paediatrics, Strabismus & Neuro-ophthalmology
Resident expert – Naz Raoof
I am a Consultant Ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital and the Royal London Hospital (appointed 2017).
At Clinica London, I am responsible for paediatric ophthalmology, strabismus treatment and neuro-ophthalmology. I also see adults and children with general and urgent eye problems and carry out routine and urgent procedures at Clinica London.
I trained as a doctor at the University of Oxford, qualifying in 2004. Following my training, the Royal Hallamshire Hospital (Sheffield) and the University of Sheffield employed me as a junior doctor in Ophthalmology.
I undertook two post-training specialist Fellowships in paediatrics, strabismus and neuro-ophthalmology, including 12 months at Moorfields Eye Hospital, London and in Auckland, New Zealand, before becoming a Consultant.
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