Refractive Status in Nepalese Pre-Term and Full-Term Infants Early in Life

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This study suggests that pre-term infants, even without retinopathy of prematurity, are at risk for abnormal refractive development and informs the need for close monitoring of refractive error in such infants, regardless of their retinopathy of prematurity status.


The present study aims to investigate the refractive error trend in Nepalese pre-term infants without retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) in the first 6 months of life and explore the association of refractive error with birth weight (BW) and gestational age (GA).


Thirty-six pre-term infants without ROP and 40 full-term infants underwent cycloplegic retinoscopy at birth, term (for pre-term only), 3 months, and 6 months chronologically. Refractive status was classified into emmetropia (mean spherical equivalent refraction [SER] 0 to +3.00D), myopia (SER < 0.00D), and significant hyperopia (SER > +3.00D). Refractive parameters at various age points were compared between the pre-term and full-term infants using general linear model repeated measures ANOVA.


At birth, the SER in the pre-term infants was +0.84 ± 1.72D; however, there was a shift toward myopia at 6 months of age (SER = −0.33 ± 1.95D). There was a significant difference in SER, astigmatism, and anisometropia between pre-term and full-term infants by 6 months of age (P < .01). Astigmatism and anisometropia showed an increasing trend with age in pre-term infants (P < .05 at 6 months) in contrast to a decreasing trend in full-term infants (P < 0.05 at 3 and 6 months). In pre-term infants, there was a statistically significant positive relationship between GA and SER (β = 0.32, R2 = 17.6%, P < .05) but a negative relationship between BW and astigmatism (β = −1.25, R2 = 20.6%, P < .01).


Pre-term infants who do not develop ROP show a trend toward increasing myopia and demonstrate greater astigmatism and anisometropia than full-term infants in their first 6 months of life.

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