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  • Writer's pictureJaney Yee

Whole Grain Consumption May Prevent Myopia?

Is This a Natural Treatment That Parents Have Been Looking For?

Children are finicky eaters and generally like straightforward, pleasing flavours. So trying to implement a diet high in whole grains and fibre would be near impossible for many parents. It’s unfortunate because a recent study has found that whole grain diets can, to some extent, slow the development of myopia. Whole grains are rich in dietary fibre, phytochemicals, minerals, a number of vitamins, and other healthy nutrients. At this time, a thorough evaluation of the long-term impact of a whole grain diet on the prevalence of myopia is lacking. Researchers recently examined the relationship between whole grain diets and the prevalence of myopia in order to provide complete evidence to improve myopia prevention, treatment, and management. They discovered that children eating whole grains (more than 50% of their total grain intake) protected them against myopia.

The study included 586 children aged six to twelve in primary school. Within the group of children, 38% of them had myopia in at least one eye. A dietary history interview with their parents or guardians was used to gather information on food consumption, including the usual diet over the course of a year. The average intake from grain sources divided by the total intake of grains was used to calculate the fraction of whole grains.

Results showed consumption of whole grains was inversely linked with the prevalence of myopia. Furthermore, after adjusting for age, sex, parental myopia, near-work activity, screen time, reading, writing, visual fatigue, outdoor time, and classroom lighting conditions, the multivariate analysis revealed that a whole grain diet of more than 50% was a protective factor against myopia.

Possible theories behind the results:

1) Dietary modifications, such as consuming more high-glycemic carbs, may potentially have an impact on the shape of the developing eye.

2) Since whole grain supplements contain calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, copper, and zinc, they may be able to stop the onset and or slow the progression of myopia.

In the end, the study’s authors proposed a non-causal link between whole grain consumption and myopia, which could rule out the possibility of dietary supplements because these kids are probably myopic for reasons other than diet.

To read the actual study: Liu Z, Wang Q, Zhao Q, et al. Association between whole-grain intake and myopia in Chinese children: a cross-sectional epidemiological study. BMC Ophthalmol. 2023;23(1):1.

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