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Purpose To investigate the association between exposure to traffic-related air pollution and use of spectacles (as a surrogate measure for myopia) in schoolchildren. Methods We analyzed the impact of exposure to NO2 and PM2.5 light absorbance at home (predicted by land-use regression models) and exposure to NO2 and black carbon (BC) at school (measured by monitoring campaigns) on the use of spectacles in a cohort of 2727 schoolchildren (7–10 years old) in Barcelona (2012–2015). We conducted cross-sectional analyses based on lifelong exposure to air pollution and prevalent cases of spectacles at baseline data collection campaign as well as longitudinal analyses based on incident cases of spectacles use and exposure to air pollution during the three-year period between the baseline and last data collection campaigns. Logistic regression models were developed to quantify the association between spectacles use and each of air pollutants adjusted for relevant covariates. Results An interquartile range increase in exposure to NO2 and PM2.5 absorbance at home was respectively associated with odds ratios (95% confidence intervals (CIs)) for spectacles use of 1.16 (1.03, 1.29) and 1.13 (0.99, 1.28) in cross-sectional analyses and 1.15 (1.00, 1.33) and 1.23 (1.03, 1.46) in longitudinal analyses. Similarly, odds ratio (95% CIs) of spectacles use associated with an interquartile range increase in exposures to NO2 and black carbon at school was respectively 1.32 (1.09, 1.59) and 1.13 (0.97, 1.32) in cross-sectional analyses and 1.12 (0.84, 1.50) and 1.27 (1.03, 1.56) in longitudinal analyses. These findings were robust to a range of sensitivity analyses that we conducted. Conclusion We observed increased risk of spectacles use associated with exposure to traffic-related air pollution. These findings require further confirmation by future studies applying more refined outcome measures such as quantified visual acuity and separating different types of refractive errors.


Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

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Open Access Journal Article

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Open Access

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.