The impact of parental migration on left-behind children’s vision health in rural China

Parental migration can have an impact on the vision health of left-behind children (LBC) in China, specifically focusing on myopia and eyeglasses ownership and investigators evaluate this relationship in this study. Using data from the China Education Panel Survey, which includes over 10,000 junior high school students, the study employs an instrumental variables approach to assess the effects. The results reveal that parental migration reduces the likelihood of myopia in LBC but decreases the probability of correcting myopia with eyeglasses. Mechanism analysis suggests that LBC spend more time on outdoor activities and less time on after-school classes, reducing the risk of myopia. Additionally, due to separation from parents, LBC's myopia is harder for parents to notice, and LBC are less likely to inform their parents actively. The study emphasizes the need for action to enhance the correction rate of myopic LBC, addressing the inequities resulting from parental migration. Practical implications include promoting awareness among parents, encouraging communication, and providing subsidies to increase the correction rate for LBC. The study contributes to understanding the multifaceted effects of parental migration on children's health, particularly in the context of myopia in rural China.

Publication date

January 2, 2023


BMC Public Health

Sponsor Institution

Higher Education Discipline Innovation Project, Education Department of Shaanxi Provincial Government


Kang Du; Tianli Yang; Jin Zhao; Hongyu Guan
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