Vitamin E is being used as an antioxidant in preterm neonates in an attempt to decrease the severity of retinopathy of prematurity. However, its efficacy may depend on many factors, a major one being its concentration in the retina. There is very little information available on the α-tocopherol levels in the human eye tissue. The present study was carried out to determine the total α-tocopherol levels in the retina, choroid, and vitreous and to compare the retinal levels with the serum levels obtained at the time of death. Thirteen whole eye donations were available during the past 22 months for the study. The data from this small number of cases showed that (1) retinal levels of α-tocopherol were higher than choroidal and vitreal levels; (2) higher serum levels were associated with higher retinal levels; and (3) both serum and retinal α-tocopherol levels were lower in the unsupplemented (group A) infants. Further studies on pharmacokinetics of vitamin E in human newborns and its distribution are needed.
- Received November 18, 1985.
- Accepted April 2, 1986.
- Copyright © 1986 by the American Academy of Pediatrics