Jornal de Pediatria
Print version ISSN 0021-7557
GRAZIANO, Rosa Maria and LEONE, Cléa Rodrigues. Frequent ophthalmologic problems and visual development of preterm newborn infants. J. Pediatr. (Rio J.) [online]. 2005, vol.81, n.1, suppl.1, pp. S95-S100. ISSN 0021-7557. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0021-75572005000200012.
OBJECTIVES: To review the concepts of visual development and the major ocular abnormalities in preterm newborns. To emphasize the importance of preventive ophthalmologic examination and early treatment of ocular disorders. SOURCES OF DATA: A review of published data. SUMMARY OF FINDINGS: Vision is one of the most important senses in the normal physical and cognitive development of children. Schoolchildren who were born preterm have impaired visual, motor and cognitive functions when compared to those of children born full term. This is more a consequence of central nervous system immaturity than of localized injuries to ocular and/ or cortical structures. The literature pinpoints retinopathy of prematurity, strabismus and refractive errors as the main ophthalmologic alterations resulting from prematurity. Retinopathy of prematurity is one of the main causes of preventable blindness in childhood. It is estimated that on average 562 children become blind each year in Brazil, which is a very high socioeconomic cost to result from a treatable disease. Children with visual deficiencies may be helped by programs of early visual stimulation in order to promote their environmental integration. CONCLUSIONS: The recommendation is that every preterm newborn weighing less than 1,500 g and/or with a gestational age of less than 32 weeks should be monitored until complete retinal vascularization and that the first examination should be performed between the fourth and sixth weeks of life. We recommend ophthalmologic outpatients follow-up of all preterm newborns until two years of life with examinations twice yearly, and then, annually, in order to prevent amblyopia.
Keywords : Premature infant; retinopathy of prematurity; vision; ocular refraction; strabismus.