Breastfeeding Perk: Less Nearsightedness?
Study Shows Fewer Nearsighted Kids Were Breastfed
June 21, 2005 -- Researchers in Singapore say babies who are breastfed may
be less likely to become nearsighted children.
That was true even after controlling for nearsightedness risk factors, say
Yap-Seng Chong, MD, and colleagues. They report their findings in The
Journal of the American Medical Association.
"Nearsightedness is the leading cause of visual impairment in developed
countries," writes Chong, who works at Singapore's National University
Hospital. There are more than 30 million nearsighted adults in the U.S., says
About 960 children were included in the study, which was done in Singapore.
The Asian nation is home to one of the world's highest rates of
nearsightedness, say the researchers.
The kids' parents were asked if their children had ever been breastfed, how
long breastfeeding had lasted, and whether the kids had also been fed formula.
A total of 418 children had been breastfed to some extent.
Less Nearsightedness in Breastfed Kids
Three years later, almost 800 of the children had their vision retested; 521
were nearsighted. Nearsightedness was less common in those who had been
breastfed, says the study.
The length of breastfeeding didn't matter. Nearsightedness was also not
affected by whether the kids had been exclusively, mostly, or partly breastfed
Breastfeeding has been linked with brain development, which could affect
young children's vision, say the researchers. They note that before weaning,
breast milk is a main source of many nutrients, including docosahexaenoic acid
(DHA), which is important in the development of the brain and eyes.
Because nearsightedness is so common in Singapore, the results might not
apply to other countries, they say.