Lutein and zeaxanthin play important roles in visual functions, but their influence on early visual development is unclear. We related maternal lutein and zeaxanthin concentrations during pregnancy to offspring visual acuity (VA) in 471 mother-child pairs from the Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes (GUSTO) cohort. Maternal concentrations of plasma lutein and zeaxanthin were determined at delivery. We measured uncorrected distance of VA in 3-year old children using a LEA Symbols chart; readings were converted to the logarithm of Minimum Angle of Resolution (logMAR), with >0.3 logMAR indicating poor VA. Associations were examined using linear or Poisson regression adjusted for confounders. The median (inter-quartile range) of maternal lutein and zeaxanthin concentrations were 0.13 (0.09, 0.18) and 0.09 (0.07, 0.12) µmol/L, respectively. A total of 126 children had poor VA. The highest tertile of maternal zeaxanthin concentration was associated with 38% lower likelihood of poor VA in children (95% CI: 0.42, 0.93, p-Trends = 0.02). Higher maternal lutein concentrations were associated with a lower likelihood of poor VA in children (RR 0.60 (95% CI: 0.40, 0.88) for middle tertile; RR 0.78 (95% CI: 0.51, 1.19) for highest tertile (p-Quadratic = 0.02)). In conclusion, lutein and zeaxanthin status during pregnancy may influence offspring early visual development; but the results require confirmation with further studies, including more comprehensive measurements of macular functions.
Keywords: child; lutein; pregnancy; visual acuity; zeaxanthin.