A population-based study of the refractive outcome in 10-year-old preterm and full-term children

Arch Ophthalmol. 2003 Oct;121(10):1430-6. doi: 10.1001/archopht.121.10.1430.


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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Cryosurgery
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Laser Therapy
  • Male
  • Population Surveillance
  • Refractive Errors / epidemiology*
  • Refractive Errors / etiology
  • Retinopathy of Prematurity / complications
  • Retinopathy of Prematurity / epidemiology
  • Retinopathy of Prematurity / surgery
  • Risk Factors
  • Sweden / epidemiology