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Screen Exposure during Early Life and the Increased Risk of Astigmatism among Preschool Children: Findings from Longhua Child Cohort Study

Sciprofile linkLihua Huang, Sciprofile linkIzzuddin M. Aris, Sciprofile linkKatrina L Schmid, Sciprofile linkJing-Yi Chen, Sciprofile linkChen-Guang Li, Sciprofile linkGuan-Hao He, Sciprofile linkZeng-Liang Ruan, Sciprofile linkWei-Qing Chen
Abstract: Screen media usage has become increasingly prevalent in daily life with children being exposed to screens at an early age. This is a growing public health concern with evidence linking screen exposure to detrimental health outcomes, whereas relationship between screen exposure and the presence of astigmatism among preschoolers remains unknown, thus we aimed to resolve this issue. During the 2017 survey of the Longhua Child Cohort Study, data of 29,595 preschoolers were collected via a caregiver-reported questionnaire regarding socio-demographics, screen exposure and refraction. Cox regression models were adopted to generate adjusted prevalence ratios (APR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) to estimate the association between early screen exposure and astigmatism. 28,029 preschoolers were included in the final analysis. After adjustment for potential confounders, screen exposure during early life was significantly associated with the increased risk of astigmatism (APR and 95% CI: 2.25, 1.76–2.88), and the greatest risk was observed in the period from birth to 1-year (APR and 95% CI: 3.10, 2.41–3.98). The risk of astigmatism increased with both the total years of exposure and the average daily duration of screen exposure. Our findings suggested that preschoolers who were exposed to screens during early life might have an increased risk of astigmatism.
Keywords: Preschool Children / Cross-sectional study / astigmatism / early life / Screen Exposure

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