Visual fields and optic disc morphology in very low birthweight adolescents examined with magnetic resonance imaging of the brain

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ABSTRACT.Purpose:We aimed to evaluate visual fields (VFs) and optic disc morphology in very low birthweight (VLBW) adolescents compared with age- and gender-matched controls, and to relate the findings to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) results.Methods:Fifty-nine VLBW adolescents and 55 age- and gender-matched controls with normal birthweight were examined. Visual fields were tested using computerized rarebit perimetry (RB). Optic nerve and retinal vessel morphology were evaluated by digital image analysis of fundus photographs. Brain MRI was conducted in the VLBW subjects.Results:Ten of the 57 VLBW subjects (p = 0.022) had subnormal VF results defined as a mean hit rate below the fifth percentile of the controls (i.e. < 89%). All of these also had significantly lower mean hit rates (p = 0.039) in the inferior hemifield. Sixteen of 57 (28%) VLBW subjects had white matter damage of immaturity (WMDI) on MRI. Six of 15 subjects with WMDI (who underwent VF testing) also had subnormal RB results, compared with four of 39 with normal MRI findings (p = 0.02). The mean neural retinal rim area was 9% smaller (p = 0.018) in the VLBW group than in the control group. The VLBW adolescents had a significantly higher index for tortuosity of arterioles than the controls (p < 0.001).Conclusions:In the present study, 18% of all VLBW adolescents and 40% of those with WMDI had subnormal RB VF findings. The VLBW group had increased arterial tortuosity and a somewhat smaller (9%) mean neural retinal rim area than the control group. Thus sequels to VLBW appear to persist in adolescence.

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