Associations between neonatal nutrition and visual outcomes in 7-year-old children born very preterm

PIANO Study Group, Mukhit Kulmaganbetov, Myra Leung, Jane M Alsweiler, Joanna Black, Frank H Bloomfield, Greg D Gamble, Jane E Harding, Yannan Jiang, Tanya Poppe, Anna C Tottman, Trecia A Wouldes, Benjamin Thompson

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PURPOSE: There is uncertainty about the effect of increased neonatal protein intake on neurodevelopmental outcomes following preterm birth. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of a change in neonatal nutrition protocol at a major tertiary neonatal intensive care unit intended to increase protein intake on ophthalmic and visual development in school-age children born very preterm.

METHODS: The study cohort comprised children (n = 128) with birthweight <1500 g or gestational age < 30 weeks born at Auckland City Hospital before (OldPro group, n = 55) and after (NewPro group, n = 73) a reformulation of parenteral nutrition that resulted in increased total protein intake during the first postnatal week and decreased carbohydrate, total parenteral fluid and sodium intake. Clinical and psychophysical vision assessments were completed at 7 years' corrected age, including visual acuity, global motion perception (a measure of dorsal stream function), stereoacuity, ocular motility and ocular health. Composite measures of favourable overall visual, binocular and functional visual outcomes along with individual vision measures were compared between the groups using logistic and linear regression models.

RESULTS: Favourable overall visual outcome did not differ between the two groups. However, global motion perception was better in the NewPro group (p = 0.04), whereas the OldPro group were more likely to have favourable binocular visual outcomes (60% vs. 36%, p = 0.02) and passing stereoacuity (p = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate subtle but complex associations between early neonatal nutrition after very preterm birth and visual development at school age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Physiological Optics
Publication statusPublished - 9 Dec 2023


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