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Carla Lanca, Aaron Teo, Ananthan Vivagandan, Hla M. Htoon, Raymond P. Najjar, Daniel P. Spiegel, Suan-Hui Pu, Seang-Mei Saw; The Effects of Different Outdoor Environments, Sunglasses and Hats on Light Levels: Implications for Myopia Prevention. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2019;8(4):7. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.8.4.7.
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Lack of outdoor time is a known risk factor for myopia. Knowledge of the light levels reaching the eye and exposure settings, including sun-protective measures, is essential for outdoor programs and myopia. We evaluated the impact of sun-protective strategies (hat and sunglasses) on maintaining high illuminance levels to prevent myopia.
A child-sized mannequin head was developed to measure light illuminance levels with and without sun-protective equipment, across a wide range of environments in Singapore, outdoors (open park, under a tree, street) and indoors (under a fluorescent illumination with window, under white LED-based lighting without window). A comparison was made between indoor and outdoor light levels that are experienced while children are involved in day-to-day activities.
Outdoor light levels were much higher (11,080–18,176 lux) than indoors (112–156 lux). The higher lux levels protective of myopia (>1000 lux) were measured at the tree shade (5556–7876 lux) and with hat (4112–8156 lux). Sunglasses showed lux levels between 1792 and 6800 lux. Although with sunglasses readings were lower than tree shade and hat, light levels were still 11 to 43 times higher than indoors.
Recommendations on spending time outdoors for myopia prevention with adequate sun protection should be provided while partaking in outdoor activities, including protection under shaded areas, wearing a hat or sunglasses, sunscreen, and adequate hydration.
Light levels outdoors were higher than indoors and above the threshold illuminance for myopia prevention even with adequate sun-protective measures.
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