Beijing - Researchers have found that increased green space around home and school is associated with a slower decline in visual acuity among schoolchildren, according to a research article recently published in the journal Environment International.
Green space is known to have a positive impact on human health and well-being, while its potential effects on visual acuity have not been extensively studied. The study aims to examine the relationship between long-term green space exposure and visual acuity in children, while also exploring the potential mechanisms in this association.
The researchers from Sun Yat-sen University worked in collaboration with their counterparts from global universities to conduct the prospective cohort study based on the children's growth environment, lifestyle, and physical and mental health development. A total of 286,801 schoolchildren in Guangzhou, south China's Guangdong Province, were screened starting from 2016 and they were followed up over three academic years.
The analysis indicated that urban green space was positively associated with the vision level of schoolchildren while negatively associated with the risk of vision impairment.
Specifically, the greater the green space area, the lower the risk of visual impairment. An increased exposure to green space both at home and school was inversely correlated with the risk of visual impairment, according to the study.
The findings suggested that increasing green space exposure could benefit children's visual acuity development and reduce the risk of visual impairment by reducing air pollution and recreational screen time while increasing physical activity and outdoor time.
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