Background: Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is often associated with visual impairment and multiple developmental disabilities. Aims: As most of the previous studies include infants with brain lesions, that can determine visual impairment per se, a cohort of low neurological risk preterm infants without ROP and with various degree of severity of ROP was assessed in order to establish visual and neurodevelopmental outcome. Study design: Preterm infants born at <31 weeks gestation, without major brain lesions, underwent visual function assessment at 1 year corrected age and neurodevelopmental assessment at 2 years corrected age. Subjects: One hundred and five infants were included in the study: 42 infants did not develop ROP, 7 reached stage 1 in zone 2 ROP, 37 reached prethreshold (untreated) type 2 ROP. The remaining 19 infants were classified as type 1 ROP. Outcome measures: Visual function (including fixing, tracking, visual acuity, visual field, attention at distance and nystagmus) were assessed at 12 months corrected age and Griffiths Scales at 2 years corrected age. Results: The severity of ROP was strongly correlated (p < 0.001) with both visual function at 1 year and neurodevelopment at 2 years. Similarly, the presence of nystagmus was also strongly correlated with visual and neurodevelopmental sequelae. Conclusions: Infants with no or milder retinopathy showed normal visual function at 1 year and neurodevelopment at 2 years. Infants who underwent treatment more frequently showed abnormal results on several aspects of visual function. Presence of nystagmus appeared to increase the risk for abnormal visual function and neurodevelopmental outcome.
- Visual function