Patterns of visual impairment associated with lesions of the preterm infant brain

Dev Med Child Neurol. 1994 Oct;36(10):849-62. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.1994.tb11776.x.


The visual function of 42 children with haemorrhagic and/or ischaemic cerebral lesions acquired before a gestational age of 35 weeks was examined and related to cranial ultrasound in the neonatal period and to MRI and neurodevelopmental status at follow-up. All 37 children with abnormal ultrasound scans and one of the five with normal ultrasound scans showed impairment of one or more aspects of visual function. While impaired acuity was more frequent among infants with MRI evidence of visual pathway damage, this was not an invariable finding. Normal or near-normal visual acuity did not preclude the presence of other functional visual deficits. The authors conclude that preterm cerebral insults may produce a variety of visual difficulties, the pattern and severity of which cannot be predicted on imaging. Each child therefore requires individual assessment of multiple aspects of visual function.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / complications
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / physiopathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Echoencephalography
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / physiology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Vision Disorders / etiology
  • Vision Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology*