Background The ophthalmic risk is more important in premature infants. Both frequency and severity are inversely proportional to the term of birth.
Purpose To evaluate the impact of prematurity on the anatomical development of the eye and visual function in preschoolers.
Patients and methods It is a descriptive and comparative study of sensory-motor assessment in 68 preschool children divided in 2 groups:
- 34 preterm infants without retinopathy
- 34 term infants, without any systemic or ocular pathology randomly selected from kindergartens after parental consent.
Results We observed a similar rate of myopia and hyperopia respectively 8.82% and 20.76% among former preterm versus 7.35% and 25% in children born at term. However, astigmatism was statistically more frequent in the group of former premature (22.06% vs. 16.17%).
There was no significant difference in the visual acuity and spherical equivalent. Amblyopia was significantly more frequent in the group of former premature (11.76% vs. 5.88%). There were shorter axial length and significantly more curved cornea with a greater refractive power in the group of former premature infant.
The sensory and motor assessments were significantly altered in former preterm (19.18% vs. 11.76% for the sensory assessment and 36.76% vs. 17.65% for the motor evaluation).
Conclusion The premature infant has an increased risk of refractive errors, strabismus and amblyopia. Our study showed other more frequent abnormalities.
The early management of these problems may limit their impact on the development of visual function.