Visual processing in adolescents born extremely low birth weight and/or extremely preterm

Carly S. Molloy, Michelle Wilson-Ching, Vicki A. Anderson, Gehan Roberts, Peter J. Anderson, Lex W. Doyle, Victorian Infant Collaborative Study Group

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37 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Ocular growth and development differs between preterm and term-born infants and may cause longterm negative consequences for visual function, but contemporary data on long-term visual outcomes in representative samples of the highest risk extremely low birth weight (ELBW, <1000 g birth weight) or extremely preterm (EP, <28 weeks' gestation) survivors are lacking. Our objective was to compare visual functioning between ELBW/EP and normal birth weight (NBW, >2499 g birth weight) control adolescents. METHODS: Geographically determined cohort study of 228 consecutive ELBW/EP survivors born in the state of Victoria in 1991 and 1992, and 166 randomly selected NBW controls assessed between 14 and 20 years of age. Visual acuity, stereopsis, convergence, color perception, and visual perception were assessed and contrasted between groups. RESULTS: ELBW/EP subjects had significantly worse visual acuity with habitual correction in both the left and right eyes, and for the best eye (P <.001). The ELBW/EP adolescents also exhibited poorer stereopsis, odds ratio (OR) 3.22 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.78 to 5.84), and convergence, OR 2.76 (CI 1.32 to 5.75) than controls, and more problems with visual perception, OR 3.09 (CI 1.67 to 5.71) after habitual correction. CONCLUSIONS: Despite advances in medical care improving the survival rate of high-risk ELBW/EP infants, visual morbidity is still relatively high compared with controls in late adolescence. 

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Extremely low birth weight
  • Extremely preterm
  • Visual acuity
  • Visual perception
  • Visual processing

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