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Issue 3, 2017
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Time outdoors, blood vitamin D status and myopia: a review

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Background: Myopia is a major public health concern throughout the world and the prevalence has been increasing rapidly in recent years, especially in urban Asia. The “vitamin D hypothesis” has been raised recently because vitamin D may be a link between less time outdoors and increased risk of myopia. Methods: We reviewed all studies published in English which examined the association of time outdoors and blood vitamin D status with myopia. Results: The protective effect of time spent outdoors on the risk of myopia onset has been well-established with numerous observational studies and three trials published. Five studies reporting the association between the blood vitamin D status and the risk of myopia and two studies examining the variations in the vitamin D receptor as potential risk factors for myopia development were identified. Most of the current evidence was cross-sectional in nature and had not properly controlled important confounders in its analyses. The evidence supporting that vitamin D played a role in myopia development is weak and the mechanisms are unclear. Conclusions: At the current stage, it is still unclear whether blood vitamin D status regulates the onset or progression of myopia. Blood vitamin D status may only serve as a biomarker of outdoor exposure, which is the real protective factor for myopia.

Graphical abstract: Time outdoors, blood vitamin D status and myopia: a review

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Article information

09 Aug 2016
15 Nov 2016
First published
16 Nov 2016

Photochem. Photobiol. Sci., 2017,16, 426-432
Article type

Time outdoors, blood vitamin D status and myopia: a review

C. Pan, D. Qian and S. Saw, Photochem. Photobiol. Sci., 2017, 16, 426
DOI: 10.1039/C6PP00292G

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