Behavioural visual functions were assessed in 155 very low birth weight (VLBW) infants during the first 12 months after expected term. Visual development was examined (mainly cross-sectionally) at 6 weeks, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months of corrected age by assessment of visual acuity, visual fields, optokinetic nystagmus and visual threat response. Many VLBW infants showed visual impairments (54.2%). No single visual function appeared to be specifically susceptible to impairments, deficits were often apparent across a range of functions. Visual impairments were observed at all test ages, and could already be assessed at 6 weeks of corrected age. The highest incidence of visual impairments was scored at 6 months corrected age. Beyond 6 months, less deficits were observed, suggesting in many infants a delayed rather than a permanently impaired visual development. In some infants deficits became evident at a later stage, after an apparently normal initial development. The results suggest that VLBW infants are at risk for impaired visual development.