SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Children who are breastfed are about fifty percent less likely to be short sighted, Singapore researchers said on Tuesday.
Docosahexaenoi acid or DHA, a substance found in breast milk, could be the main element which improves early visual development in babies, resulting in more ordered eyeball growth which then reduces the development or severity of myopia.
"We can recommend infant breastfeeding as a protective behavior that may be adopted by mothers to lower the probability of the development of myopia," said Dr Saw Seang Mei of the National University of Singapore, who headed the research.
Myopia is the most common eye problem. It affects as much as 40 percent of the population in the United States and Europe but between 70 and 90 percent of some Asian populations such as Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Saw said the DHA is also important for the development of photoreceptor cells in the retina, which play a major role in whether children become short-sighted.
Researchers studied 797 children aged between 10 to 12 years in Singapore as part of the survey. They were given medical tests and also had to answer a series of questions including the number of books they read per week.
The study, led by the Singapore Eye Research Institute, found that the risk of myopia in a child that was breastfed is 0.6 times that of child that was not, even after taking into account of other factors.
While genetic variation was seen to be the culprit of myopia among children, soaring rates of the condition have led more researchers to believe it is the rising watching of television, playing computers games and reading that is to blame.http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=stor...pore_myopia_dc