Objective: To evaluate the refractive outcome in 10-year-old prematurely born children and in full-term control children.
Methods: Retinoscopy during cycloplegia was performed in 213 prematurely born children from a previous population-based study on the incidence of retinopathy of prematurity and in 217 children born at term. The spherical equivalent, astigmatism, anisometropia, and significant refractive errors (defined as hypermetropia >3 diopters [D], myopia < or =-1 D, astigmatism > or =1 D in 1 or both eyes, and/or anisometropia > or =1 D) were analyzed.
Results: Significant refractive errors were found in 29.6% of the prematurely born and in 7.8% of the full-term children. Prematurely born children had higher prevalences of hypermetropia of more than 3 D, myopia of -1 D or less, astigmatism of 1 D or more, and anisometropia of 1 D or more than those born at term. In the preterm group, the cryotreated children had the greatest risk of refractive errors (16 [64%] of 25 children), with higher prevalences of myopia (<0, < or =-1, or <-3 D), astigmatism (> or =1 D), and anisometropia (> or =1 D).
Conclusions: Significant refractive errors were 4 times more common in 10-year-old prematurely born children than in full-term controls. Cryotreated children had the highest risk, but prematurity per se was also associated with refractive errors. Ophthalmological follow-up of prematurely born children should, therefore, also include children without retinopathy of prematurity in the neonatal period.