Background and aims Children born very preterm are at increased risk for visual motor impairment. Our aim was to investigate whether ifmpaired oculomotor function is associated with morphological and ADC (Apparent Diffusion Coefficient) changes on brain MRI.
Method Visual tracking ability (eye and head movements) was measured at 4 months corrected age in 32 very preterm infants (mean GA 27 w). The following variables were assessed; Gain of gaze, Smooth pursuit (SP) eye movements, the number of saccades >100 deg/s, and head movements. MRI examinations were performed at 2.5–5 years of age, including ADC measurements at multiple locations.
Results There were significant univariate correlations between some gaze parameters, MR abnormalities and asymmetries in ADC values. Moreover, there was a correlation between the number of observed perivascular spaces and SP (rs = -0.407 p = 0.025)
Conclusion This is the first study to examine the relationship between young infants’ visual tracking abilities and later MRI. Poorer tracking for gaze and saccades correlated with white matter damage, while SP correlated with ADC values for the pons.