Association Between Outdoor Play and Myopia among Children in Cross River State, Nigeria. A Case-Control Study

Kindness Charles, Bernadine N. Ekpenyong, Simeon C. Agbasimere, Edward O. Okoi


Purpose: Myopia is a refractive error of the eyes that causes blurred distance vision. Near work, genetics and environmental factors have been implicated as risk factors in Child myopia. This study seeks to determine the association between time spent on outdoor play and myopia among children in Calabar, Nigeria.

Methods: It was a hospital-based case-control study conducted among 120 children (5-17 years old) selected and matched by age and sex from outpatients of the Cross River Eye Care Program. After obtaining parental consent, assent was obtained from the children before conducting comprehensive eye examinations. Myopia was defined as a spherical equivalent of ≥-0.50D. Cases were children diagnosed with myopia and controls were those without myopia. Independent samples t-test and Spearman’s correlation were conducted and a P-value < 0.05 was considered to be statistically significant at a 95% confidence interval.

Results: Cases spent less time playing outdoors than controls (M = 1.95 vs 2.40 hours daily, p = 0.01). Spearman’s correlation found a statistically significant, weak, negative correlation between time spent on outdoor play and myopia [rs(118) = -0.217, p = 0.017]. Spending above 2 hours on outdoor play had an OR of 0.37 (95% CI = 0.170 – 0.816).

Conclusion: In this association found between time spent on outdoor play and myopia, as time spent on outdoor play increases, myopia decreases. Increased time spent on outdoor play was a protective factor against myopia. Hence it is recommended that more awareness be created of the protective effect of outdoor play.

Keywords: Association, children, myopia, outdoor play, time spent.

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