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Middle East Afr J Ophthalmol. 2019 Sep 30;26(3):158-162. doi: 10.4103/meajo.MEAJO_64_17. eCollection 2019 Jul-Sep.

Visual Outcome of Preterm Infants Screened in a Tertiary Care Hospital.

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Regional Institute of Ophthalmology, Government Medical College Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India.
Department of Pediatrics, Government Medical College Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India.
Department of Community Medicine, Government Medical College Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India.



The aim of this study is to assess the incidence of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) in preterm infants and to compare the visual outcomes in babies with and without ROP.


A consecutive cohort of 812 preterm babies were recruited with gestational age ≤32 weeks and or birth weight ≤1500 g. The outcome was assessed at the end of 15 months by determining fixation behavior, cycloplegic refraction, and vision by Cardiff cards. Incidence of visual outcomes with 95% confidence limits and relative risks were estimated. Chi-squared test and t-test were used as tests of significance.


The incidence of ROP was 25%. The incidence of myopia, hypermetropia, astigmatism, and strabismus were 15.8% (14.3-17.3), 6% (5.1-7.1), 55.6% (53.6-57.7), and 1.8% (1.4%-2.5%), respectively, in the cohort. The most common refractive error in terms of spherical equivalence was myopia (19.8% in ROP and 14.4% in non-ROP group). The mean visual acuity measured by Cardiff Acuity cards was 0.282 and 0.27 logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution units (right eye) and 0.293 and 0.277 (left eye) in patients with and without ROP, respectively. Strabismus was present in 5% of ROP group and 0.8% of non-ROP group babies. Babies with ROP had six times (risk ratio-6.02; 95% confidence interval 2.8-12.8) higher chance of developing strabismus than those without ROP.


Ophthalmological morbidities in premature infants such as refractive errors and strabismus are high in addition to complications like ROP. The incidence of these conditions is more in infants with ROP when compared to non-ROP group.


Functional outcome; preterms; refractive error; retinopathy of prematurity; visual acuity

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