We performed ophthalmologic examinations on 180 neonates (27 to 34 weeks gestational age) shortly after birth, and disappearance of the anterior capsule of the lens vessels was used to estimate gestational age. Three groups of patients were studied: I: chronic hypertension (n = 80); II: preeclampsia (n = 60); III: normal pregnancies (n = 40). The gestational age was also determined by a reliable menstrual history or early ultrasound examination, or both, and Ballard's scoring and compared with that assessed by grading of the anterior vascular capsule of the lens. We found a significant acceleration of gestational age in vascular capsule of the lens when maternal chronic hypertension existed. This study shows that chronic intrauterine stress results in the disappearance of the tunica vasculosa lentis of the fetal eye and therefore suggesting accelerated maturation of this vascular compartment.