Periventricular leukomalacia causes visual impairment in preterm children. A study on the aetiologies of visual impairment in a population-based group of preterm children born 1989-95 in the county of Värmland, Sweden

Acta Ophthalmol Scand. 1998 Oct;76(5):593-8. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0420.1998.760516.x.


Purpose: To determine the causes of visual impairment in a population-based group of visually impaired preterm children.

Methods: Ophthalmological examination and magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography of the brain were performed in all visually impaired preterm children born 1989-95 in Värmland.

Results: Ten of 18 children had periventricular leukomalacia affecting the optic radiation, six had other lesions or malformations in the posterior visual pathways/cortex, but no child had visually impairing retinopathy of prematurity.

Conclusion: We conclude that cerebral lesions or malformations are common causes of the visual functional deficit in visually impaired children born preterm. Brain damage should be suspected in a prematurely born child who presents with either of the signs: fixation difficulties, strabismus or nystagmus.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blindness / diagnosis
  • Blindness / epidemiology
  • Blindness / etiology*
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Leukomalacia, Periventricular / complications*
  • Leukomalacia, Periventricular / diagnosis
  • Leukomalacia, Periventricular / epidemiology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Population Surveillance
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Visual Acuity