The findings contradict earlier research that had suggested docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which is found in fish oil, improves vision in preterm babies who are given supplements in their first few months of life.
DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid involved in brain and visual development.
To investigate, researchers tested the visual acuity in 185 4-month-olds whose mothers had been randomly assigned to either take DHA-rich fish oil capsules or a placebo every day, from mid-pregnancy until delivery.
Overall, there was no benefit of DHA on infants' vision. It's not clear why the supplements didn't have an impact, despite the benefits seen in preemies given DHA after birth.
DHA is found in oily, cold-water fish, such as salmon, trout, sardines, tuna, mackerel and herring.
The findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
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