Nutraceuticals for infants with retinopathy of prematurity: perspective


  • Anakin Chu Kwan Lai
  • Connie Lai
  • Nicholas Fung
  • Amy Lo HKU


Blindness, Child, Hyperoxia, Hypoxia, Retinal neovascularization


Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is one of the most common causes of childhood blindness worldwide. Its prevalence is rising as more premature infants are surviving owing to advances in neonatal care. The current treatments for ROP are invasive and may increase the risk of future eye complications. Nutraceuticals (dietary oils, carotenoids, and vitamin supplements) are generally safe for use in children without detrimental adverse effects. Research has demonstrated nutraceuticals’ anti-angiogenesis properties and their potential to protect against ROP. Dietary oils suppress inflammation and neovascularization in ROP models when administered intravenously. Carotenoids, such as lutein, promote retinal revascularization in mice. Vitamin A, C, and E supplements are unable to prevent ROP pathogenesis, despite well-documented antioxidative effects. The discrepancy between laboratory and clinical trial results may be due to differences in the dosage that can affect the eye, the outcome measurements used, and the presence of confounders in clinical trials. Future studies should investigate the short- and long-term effects of nutraceuticals on infants’ vision.


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How to Cite

Lai ACK, Lai C, Fung N, Lo A. Nutraceuticals for infants with retinopathy of prematurity: perspective. Hong Kong J Ophthalmol [Internet]. 2024Jan.2 [cited 2024Mar.2];27(2). Available from:




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