A new smartwatch that tracks the amount of time that children spend in the sun and  may help to prevent myopia in children.

Targeted at children aged six to 12, the watch has a light meter that tracks light intensity of their surroundings, which is then translated into hours and minutes.

 Prof Saw of Singapore, one of the highest myopic rates, hopes the device will encourage children to spend at least three hours a day outdoors. Those who achieve this will get a gold badge on the smartwatch’s phone app. Consistently hitting this target will earn them a platinum badge.

About 10 per cent of children aged between six and 72 months are short-sighted, and “if a primary school child becomes myopic, the chance of them developing high myopia later on is high”.

High myopia refers to short-sightedness beyond 600 degrees.

It raises the risk of other eye conditions such as retinal detachment or macular degeneration.

Exposure to sunlight is believed to reduce the rate of myopia because it encourages the body to produce chemical dopamine. This helps to prevent the eyeball from becoming elongated, which causes the condition.