Preterm birth and visual development

Semin Neonatol. 2001 Dec;6(6):487-97. doi: 10.1053/siny.2001.0077.


Visual impairment, oculomotor abnormalities, and refractive error are prevalent among children with a history of preterm birth. These conditions may result from exposure of the immature visual system to early visual stimulation, from nutritional deficits that occur following the abrupt loss of placental maternal-to-fetal transfer of essential nutrients, and as secondary effects of systemic disease or complications associated with preterm birth. This chapter provides an overview of the structural and functional maturation of the visual system of the healthy preterm infant and of several forms of visual impairment that are prevalent in the low birth weight population.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Electroretinography
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology
  • Fetus / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / physiology*
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Refractive Errors
  • Vision Tests
  • Vision, Ocular* / physiology