Environment & Lifestyle

Sleep and Childhood Myopia

July 15, 2021

By Dwight Akerman, OD, MBA, FAAO, FBCLA

Myopia is attributed to a complex interaction between genetic and environmental factors. Evidence suggests that outdoor time is protective against myopia. Other potential environmental and behavioral influences include near work, physical activity, and urbanization. Recent literature suggests that circadian rhythms may also regulate eye growth and refractive error development. The body’s circadian clocks help regulate daily rhythms of sleep, alertness, heart rate, body temperature, metabolism, hormone secretion, and many other physiological processes.

With known associations between light exposure and sleep and potential relationships between sleep and myopia, it is of interest to understand objectively measured habitual sleep patterns in myopic and non-myopic children. In this article, the authors provide a detailed report of sleep patterns of the myopic and non-myopic children enrolled in the Role of Outdoor Activity in Myopia (ROAM) Study and examine the influence of various factors, including season, age, and refractive error, on these data.

Myopic children exhibited differences in sleep duration by day of the week and season. Additionally, myopic children showed shorter sleep latency than non-myopic children. For all children, wake time was later, and sleep duration was longer during the cooler season compared with the warmer season. On weekends, children went to bed later, woke up later, and had increased sleep duration than on weekdays. Younger children exhibited earlier bedtime and wake time than older children. Time spent outdoors was positively associated with sleep duration, and daily physical activity was negatively associated with wake time.

The authors concluded that myopic children tended to have more variable sleep duration and shorter latency than non-myopic children. Sleep patterns were influenced by season, day of the week, age, time outdoors, and activity.

Abstract

Sleep in Myopic and Non-Myopic Children 

Lisa A. Ostrin; Scott A. Read; Stephen J. Vincent; Michael J. Collins 

Purpose: To examine differences in sleep between myopic and non-myopic children.

Methods: Objective measurements of sleep, light exposure, and physical activity were collected from 91 children, aged 10 to 15 years, for two 14-day periods approximately 6 months apart. Sleep parameters were analyzed with respect to refractive error, season, day of the week, age, and sex.

Results: Myopic children exhibited differences in sleep duration by day of the week (P < 0.001) and season (P = 0.007). Additionally, myopic children exhibited shorter sleep latency than non-myopic children (P = 0.04). For all children, wake time was later (P < 0.001), and sleep duration was longer (P = 0.03) during the cooler season compared with the warmer season. On weekends, children went to bed later (P < 0.001), woke up later (P < 0.001), and had increased sleep duration (P < 0.001) than on weekdays. Younger children exhibited earlier bedtime (P = 0.005) and wake time (P = 0.01) than older children. Time spent outdoors was positively associated with sleep duration (P = 0.03), and daily physical activity was negatively associated with wake time (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Myopic children tended to have more variable sleep duration and shorter latency than non-myopic children. Sleep patterns were influenced by season, day of the week, age, time outdoors, and activity.

Translational Relevance: Myopic children tended to have more variable sleep duration and shorter latency than non-myopic children, which may reflect previously reported differences in environmental and behavioral factors between refractive error groups.

Ostrin, L. A., Read, S. A., Vincent, S. J., & Collins, M. J. (2020). Sleep in myopic and non-myopic children. Translational vision science & technology, 9(9), 22-22.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.9.9.22

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