Purpose: To produce the background to a pilot-study of the visual and social outcome of visually impaired children. A study, originally including 219 individuals, done in 1980 in the county of Malmöhus in southern Sweden, was revisited.
Methods: A revision according to current WHO classification led to a cohort of 128 individuals. This was compared to the corresponding group, comprising 2048 individuals, of the total Swedish registration of visually impaired children of today.
Results and conclusion: The two groups were mostly similar as regards male/ female distribution, additional impairments, etiological factors and diagnoses. The prevalence of visual impairment due to peri-/neonatal influence had increased (p=0.038; odds ratio (OR): 1.61, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.04-2.61), while visual impairment due to prenatal infections had decreased (p = 0.0001; OR: 0.26, 95%CI: 0.15-0.49). Regarding diagnoses we saw a significant decrease in chorioretinitis, as well as in microphthalmus and Stargardt's disease, while hypoplasia of the optic nerve increased. In all these, except chorioretinitis, the changes are probably due to altered diagnostic classification.