(HealthDay News) – For infants, supplementation of formula with long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) correlates with improved visual acuity in the first year of life, according to research published online Dec. 17 in Pediatrics.

Ahmad Qawasmi, MD, from Yale University in New Haven, Conn., and colleagues reviewed the literature and conducted a meta-analysis of 19 studies involving 1,949 infants to examine whether LCPUFA supplementation of infant formula improves visual acuity.

The researchers found that, when visual acuity was assessed using visual evoked potential methods, LCPUFA supplementation demonstrated a significant benefit at 2, 4, and 12 months of age. Using behavioral methods, benefit was demonstrated at 2 months of age. Significant heterogeneity was observed between the trials but there was no indication of a publication bias. No moderating effects were observed on the association between LCPUFA supplementation and visual acuity.

“Overall, our meta-analysis demonstrates a significant benefit of LCPUFA supplementation to infant formula on infant visual acuity during the first year of life,” the authors write. “Further trials are required to assess the efficacy of LCPUFA supplementation on infant’s visual acuity for children older than 1 year of age.”

One author received research funding that included partial support from Eli Lilly.

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