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Visual function in school-aged children born before 29 weeks of gestation: a population-based study

  • Anna-Lena Hård (a1), Aimon Niklasson (a2), Elisabeth Svensson (a3) and Ann Hellström (a1)

Abstract

The aim of this study was to assess visual function, including visual perception, in a geographically-based population of school-aged children, with a median age of 7.2 years (range 5.1 to 9.3 years), born before 29 weeks of gestation to mothers living in Göteborg, Sweden. Fifty-one preterm children participated in the study, six of whom had known brain lesions. Visual acuity, visual fields, stereoacuity, and visual perception were tested. The Test of Visual Perceptual Skills – Revised (TVPS-R, Gardner 1996) was used to measure visual perception, and the results were compared with those of 50 term (control) subjects. Six percent of the preterm children were visually impaired, with a visual acuity of less than 0.3 (6/18), while 42% of all the preterm children and 34% of those without known brain lesions had a total score below the 5th centile of the reference material for the test, compared with 14% of the control subjects. In conclusion, visual–perceptual problems seem to be common among very preterm children and should be screened for and assessed before the children start school.

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Corresponding author

Section of Paediatric Ophthalmology, The Queen Silvia Children's Hospital, S-41685 Göteborg, Sweden. E-mail: annalena.hard@oft.gu.se

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Visual function in school-aged children born before 29 weeks of gestation: a population-based study

  • Anna-Lena Hård (a1), Aimon Niklasson (a2), Elisabeth Svensson (a3) and Ann Hellström (a1)

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