Mom was right: you are what you eat—at least according to new research into the relationship between nutrition and amblyopia. The researchers reviewed the body mass index (BMI) and vitamin and mineral status of 78 children, 46 with amblyopia and 32 without. The amblyopic children showed significant deficiencies in vitamin B12 and folate, the researchers say, suggesting these elements may play an important role in visual development for patients with amblyopia.

The Turkey-based research team looked at serum vitamin B12 and folate using a biochemistry analyzer and evaluated inorganic mineral elements from hair samples. Levels of phosphorus, selenium, molybdenum, iodine, chromium, boron and beryllium were all significantly lower in the amblyopia group. The team found no significant differences in height, weight or BMI between the amblyopic and non-amblyopic groups. The levels of vitamin B12 and folate were not statistically significant either.

However, of the children with amblyopia, the most severe cases showed some revealing differences. Those severe cases had lower vitamin B12 and folate and higher BMI than either the non-amblyopia group or the more moderate cases within the amblyopia group. Selenium, molybdenum, iodine, chromium, boron and beryllium were also significantly lower in those with severe amblyopia.

Subasi S, Altintas O, Mercan S, et al. Evaluation of nutritional status in children with amblyopia. Arq Bras Oftalmol. 2019;82(2):141-8.