Ocular manifestations in children born after in vitro fertilization

Arch Ophthalmol. 2001 Oct;119(10):1525-9. doi: 10.1001/archopht.119.10.1525.


Objective: To report the ocular abnormalities found in children born after in vitro fertilization.

Methods: Forty-seven children (25 girls and 22 boys) born after an in vitro fertilization pregnancy (mean +/- SD birth weight, 2335 +/- 817 g; range, 924-4300 g) and referred for ophthalmic evaluation were included in the study. All underwent a thorough ocular examination. Obstetric history was gathered following a detailed questionnaire with the mothers.

Results: Of 70 eyes among nonverbal children, visual acuity was "normal for age" in 60 (86%), "fair" in 4 (6%), and "poor" in 6 (9%). Visual acuity in 24 eyes in verbal children ranged from 6/6 to no light perception, with 4 (17%) having poor vision. Cycloplegic refraction disclosed an emmetropia in 22 (27%), hypermetropia in 47 (57%), and myopia in 13 (16%) of the eyes. Anisometropia of more than 1.0 diopters was found in 8 children. Major ocular malformations were observed in 12 (26%) of the 47 children. These malformations included Coats disease, congenital cataract, congenital glaucoma, hypoplastic optic nerve head, idiopathic optic atrophy, coloboma with microphthalmos, and retinoblastoma.

Conclusions: Ocular anomalies were frequently observed in this cohort of offspring born after in vitro fertilization. A diligent and prospective prenatal search for such malformations should unveil the real prevalence of ocular malformations in children born after in vitro fertilization.

MeSH terms

  • Birth Weight
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Eye Abnormalities / epidemiology*
  • Eye Abnormalities / etiology
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro / adverse effects*
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Israel / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Maternal Age
  • Sperm Injections, Intracytoplasmic
  • Visual Acuity