Breast-feeding and optimal visual development

J Pediatr Ophthalmol Strabismus. Jan-Feb 1993;30(1):33-8.

Abstract

The goal of the present study was to determine whether dietary supply of omega-3 essential fatty acid (EFA) influences visual development in healthy pre-term and full-term infants. Visual status was examined in human milk-fed infants (ample dietary omega-3 EFA supply) and corn oil-based formula-fed infants (no dietary omega-3 EFA; standard formula prior to 1987). At 57 weeks postconception (4 months adjusted age), both pre-term and full-term human milk-fed infants had significantly better visual evoked potential (VEP) and forced-choice preferential-looking (FPL) acuity than formula-fed infants. Acuity was correlated with a dietary omega-3 sufficiency index from red blood cell membranes obtained at 57 weeks postconception. At 36 months, full-term human milk-fed children had significantly better random dot stereo acuity and letter matching ability than formula-fed children. Stereo acuity and performance on the letter matching test were correlated with a dietary omega-3 sufficiency index from red blood cell membranes obtained at 4 months. These results suggest that dietary omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in visual development.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding*
  • Erythrocyte Membrane / metabolism
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology*
  • Eye / growth & development*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / physiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Food
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Visual Acuity / physiology*

Substances

  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3