Development of spherical equivalent refraction in prematurely born children during the first 10 years of life: a population-based study

Arch Ophthalmol. 2005 Oct;123(10):1404-11. doi: 10.1001/archopht.123.10.1404.


Objective: To evaluate the development of refraction, expressed as spherical equivalents, in prematurely born children during the first 10 years of life.

Methods: Retinoscopy in cycloplegia was performed at 6 months, 2.5 years, and 10 years of age in 198 prematurely born children from a previous population-based study on the incidence of retinopathy of prematurity. Spherical equivalents were calculated. Myopia was defined as a spherical equivalent of less than 0 diopters (D), clinically significant myopia at 10 years of age as -1 D or less, and moderate or high myopia as less than -3D. Hypermetropia greater than +3 D was regarded as significant.

Results: There were no significant differences during the refractive development between the various subgroups of retinopathy of prematurity. Cryotreated eyes had a wider distribution of refractive errors. A multiple regression analysis revealed that the spherical equivalents at 2.5 years of age predicted clinically significant myopia (</=-1 D) at 10 years of age.

Conclusions: Retinoscopies at 6 months, 2.5 years, and 10 years of age show a similar course of spherical equivalent refractive development regardless of the stage of retinopathy of prematurity. Refraction at 6 months of age is an unreliable predictor, but the refraction at 2.5 years of age seems to be a better tool for identifying refractive errors that will remain at 10 years of age.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Cryosurgery
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Male
  • Refraction, Ocular / physiology*
  • Refractive Errors / diagnosis
  • Refractive Errors / epidemiology
  • Refractive Errors / physiopathology*
  • Retinopathy of Prematurity / epidemiology
  • Retinopathy of Prematurity / physiopathology*
  • Retinopathy of Prematurity / surgery
  • Retinoscopy
  • Risk Factors
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Visual Acuity / physiology