Vitamin E supplements can prevent premature babies from having defective sight. One of the most vital of the premature infant's needs is for an adequate supply of oxygen. Before birth, its oxygen supply is from the maternal blood, via the placenta; after birth it has to be breathed in — and because it is premature, its lungs are not really up to the task. However, pure oxygen added to the air the infant breathes compensates for the respiratory deficit until the lungs become mature enough to cope with the problem. Then, in the first few days or weeks, the amount of extra oxygen being given can gradually be reduced and finally stopped altogether.
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