Myopia is a common condition in which the eyes do not focus correctly leading to a greater ability to resolve near objects than far-away objects. Built environments that restrict access to natural light can increase the risk of children developing myopia.
According to Zielinka-Dabroska: “Europeans and North Americans now spend 90% of their time indoors, on average. People sit in offices under artificial lighting from early in the morning until late at night. Children spend more time indoors, too, and when they do go out, the courtyards, playgrounds and parks they play in are often overshadowed by buildings.
“Alarming health consequences are emerging. For example, a global rise in short-sightedness (myopia) since the 1960’s has been linked to low exposure to daylight. Today, around 70–80% of young adults living in Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and other parts of eastern Asia are short-sighted; by contrast, in 1950’s China, only 10–20% of the population was affected. By 2050, half of the world’s population could be myopic. Yet myopia might be prevented by spending just 2 hours a day outdoors in bright sunlight8. Researchers are trying to pin down the particular biological mechanisms involved.”
Zielinska-Dabkowska, K. M., & Xavia, K. (2019, April 23). Protect our right to light. Nature. Retrieved from https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-01238-y