Several recent studies have shown that breast-feeding leads to optimal visual and cognitive development in human children. This study evaluated the possible long-term effects that breast milk might have on vision. The subjects, 49 optometry students from Pacific University, completed a survey indicating whether they were breast-fed or formula-fed. A brief visual screening battery of tests followed. Subjects were placed into the breast-fed group if they had been breast-fed for 3 months or more. They were placed into the formula-fed group if they were breast-fed less than 3 months, or completely formula-fed. The results showed no significant difference between the breast-fed and formula-fed groups in regards to visual acuity, stereoacuity, refractive error, eye motilities, distance cover test, or red lens test. However, there was a significant difference between the groups for the near cover test. Additional research should include a longitudinal study of children into early adult-hood to measure whether visual performance is enhanced in those infants fed breast milk compared to those fed with formula.
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