Ocular morpho-functional analysis: Comparison between prematurely-born and born at term children

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PurposeTo evaluate the differences in ocular morpho-functional parameters between preterm and born at term childrenMethods50 eyes of 25 prematurely-born children (gestational age ≤34 weeks and birth weight ≤ 1495g) were compared to 40 eyes of 20 children born at term. The age at examination was 6-8 years old. In preterm group 18 eyes had retinopathy of prematurity (ROP): 8 were affected by mild ROP (stage 1-2) and 10 by severe ROP (stage 2-3), treated with laser photocoagulation. The children were submitted to a complete ophthalmic evaluation including ETDRS visual acuity (VA), contrast sensitivity (CS), pattern visual evoked potential (pVEP), retinal nerve fiber layer thickness (RNFL, disc area) and central macular thickness (CMT) measured by spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT)ResultsNo statistically significant differences were found in functional or structural data between prematurely-born and born at term children except higher values for disc area in preterm. Conversely many statistically significant differences (VA, CS, P100 amplitude, disc area and CMT) emerged between control and preterm group affected by ROP, especially in severe ROPConclusionMany differences in ocular morpho-functional parameters are pointed out between full term and preterm children affected by ROP. The most important dissimilarities are in stage 3. Maybe it can be correlated with treatment’s damage or due to incomplete development of optic pathways. Because the principal differences are in functional parameters (VA, CS, VEP), without significant morphological changes, we hypothesize that impairment of vision in severe ROP is due not only to retinopathy of prematurity but also to brain damage.

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