A dollop of fish oil may be enough to prevent the loss of vision in premature babies. Babies born before their eyes have finished growing run the risk of contracting this disease, which inhibits the development of vessels thus deprives the retina of oxygen. The more premature the baby, the higher the risk and the more severe the symptoms.
In extreme cases, it can lead to total-blindness. The lack of oxygen sets off a biological alarm, but when the child's eyes try to grow new blood vessels to compensate, they are deformed, compounding the problem. Toward the end of the disease, the retina can come loose, and when that happens there's very little you can do.
Retinopathy also afflicts millions of working-age adults with diabetes, as well as older people experiencing age-related degeneration, according to the study.
The WHO has identified retinopathy as a leading cause of vision impairment in children in the developing world. In rich nations, the disease has become more common with advances in medical care that have vastly improved survival rates in highly premature infants.