Dietary supplementation with vitamin D at a young age may be preventive for some retinal diseases. A new study investigated the relationship between vitamin D status and retinal diseases in the pediatric population and found that low vitamin D levels correlated with choroidal thinning and other structural changes.

Deficiency of vitamin D plays a significant role in retinal maturation during the early period of life, as well as in the development of some retinal diseases. The study evaluated the following retinal structural parameters in 150 children: RNFL, central macula, retinal layer, choroidal thickness, central retinal artery equivalent (CRAE) and central retinal vein equivalent (CRVE). Children were divided into a vitamin-D deficiency group (Group 1, n=70) and a group without deficiency (Group 2, n=80).

In both groups, mean peripapillary RNFL (except for the nasal superior sector), central macula and retinal layer thicknesses were similar. In Group 1, mean choroidal thickness was lower in the subfoveal and nasal 3,000µm-diameter areas. CRAE was lower and CRVE was higher in Group 1 than in Group 2.

The researchers concluded that specific structural changes—choroidal thinning, a decrease in CRAE and an increase in CRVE—occurred in pediatric subjects with vitamin D deficiencies. “The alterations in these parameters became more prominent in pediatric subjects who were determined to have lower vitamin D levels,” the researchers explained. “Vitamin D treatment or supplementation in the pediatric age may be considered as new therapeutic approach in the prevention of retinal some retinal diseases.”

Aydemir E, Ilhan C, Adydemir GA, et al. Evaluation of retinal structure in pediatric subjects with vitamin D deficiency. Am J Ophthalmol. July 17, 2021. [Epub ahead of print].