Potential effects of nutraceuticals in retinopathy of prematurity


  • J.K.W. Tsang
  • S.A. Wolf
  • I.M. Pompoes
  • A.M. Joussen
  • W.C. Lam
  • D. Yang
  • A.C.Y. Lo


  • Life


  • Life 11 (2): 79


  • Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), the most common cause of childhood blindness, is a hypoxia-induced eye disease characterized by retinal neovascularization. In the normal retina, a well-organized vascular network provides oxygen and nutrients as energy sources to maintain a normal visual function; however, it is disrupted when pathological angiogenesis is induced in ROP patients. Under hypoxia, inadequate oxygen and energy supply lead to oxidative stress and stimulate neovasculature formation as well as affecting the function of photoreceptors. In order to meet the metabolic needs in the developing retina, protection against abnormal vascular formation is one way to manage ROP. Although current treatments provide beneficial effects in reducing the severity of ROP, these invasive therapies may also induce life-long consequences such as systemic structural and functional complications as well as neurodevelopment disruption in the developing infants. Nutritional supplements for the newborns are a novel concept for restoring energy supply by protecting the retinal vasculature and may lead to better ROP management. Nutraceuticals are provided in a non-invasive manner without the developmental side effects associated with current treatments. These nutraceuticals have been investigated through various in vitro and in vivo methods and are indicated to protect retinal vasculature. Here, we reviewed and discussed how the use of these nutraceuticals may be beneficial in ROP prevention and management.