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Vitamin A may slow progression of eye disease in children

Special cells in the retina of the eye, called cones, respond to colors in bright light. These cones can begin to fail—part of a group of eye diseases called retinitis pigmentosa (RP)—in adolescents and young adults, often leading to blindness by age 40.

In this study, 80 children, average age nine, with different genetic types of RP, took age-adjusted doses of vitamin A less than or equal to 15,000 IU per day, or did not take vitamin A. Doctors followed up four to five years later and found children taking vitamin A had nearly 50 percent slower annual loss of cone function compared to those not taking vitamin A: 6.9 percent vs .13.2 percent.

Doctors said treating RP in childhood appears to have greater benefit than in adulthood, where other studies have found only a 17 percent slower annual loss of cone function for those taking vitamin A.

 

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