Ocular growth and morbidity in preterm children without retinopathy of prematurity

Jpn J Ophthalmol. 2009 Nov;53(6):623-628. doi: 10.1007/s10384-009-0744-x. Epub 2009 Dec 18.


Purpose: To investigate ocular growth and morbidity in both preschool and school-aged children born prematurely without retinopathy of prematurity (ROP).

Methods: This population-based study was carried out in 26 children, 5-7 years of age, born prematurely without ROP. All children underwent a full ocular examination, including corrected visual acuity, cycloplegic refractive errors, color vision, ocular alignment, and anterior and posterior segment examinations. Anterior chamber depth, lens thickness, vitreous length, and total axial length were measured.

Results: There was no correlation between the degree of prematurity and visual acuity or refractive state. Two (7.7%) subjects had strabismus, two (7.7%) had amblyopia, and four (15%) had anisometropia. Total axial length was significantly correlated with both gestational age at birth (r=0.822, P<0.001) and birth weight (r=0.569, P=0.003). Similarly, vitreous length was also significantly correlated with gestational age (r=0.744, P<0.001) and birth weight (r=0.553, P=0.004).

Conclusions: This study showed that although the globe gets longer as gestational age approaches term and as birth weight increases, this condition does not result in any significant refractive error. According to the literature, the prevalence of strabismus, amblyopia, and anisometropia may be higher in preterm children without ROP than in age-matched, normally delivered children.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amblyopia / epidemiology*
  • Birth Weight
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Eye / growth & development*
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Male
  • Maternal Age
  • Morbidity
  • Premature Birth*
  • Refractive Errors / epidemiology*
  • Retinopathy of Prematurity / complications
  • Risk Factors
  • Strabismus / epidemiology*
  • Visual Acuity
  • Young Adult