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Impact of retinopathy of prematurity on ocular structures and visual functions
  1. Alistair Fielder1,
  2. Hannah Blencowe2,
  3. Anna O'Connor3,
  4. Clare Gilbert4
  1. 1Division of Optometry & Visual Science, City University, London, UK
  2. 2Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
  3. 3Directorate of Orthoptics and Vision Science, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
  4. 4Department of Clinical Research, International Centre for Eye Health, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Alistair Fielder, Division of Optometry & Visual Science, City University, Northampton Square, London EC1 V 0HB,UK; a.fielder{at}


The preterm baby may develop ophthalmic sequelae which can be due to prematurity per se, due to retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) or due to neurological damage. Focusing on the former two, we discuss how in high-income countries the risk of sight-threatening ROP is largely confined to babies <1000 g birth weight (BW), whereas in low-income or middle-income countries babies exceeding 2500 g BW can be blinded. The effects of prematurity and ROP are presented as regional and global estimates of acute-phase ROP and the consequent mild/moderate and severe visual impairment. We discuss sequelae and how they affect the eye and its shape, strabismus and finally consider their impact on visual functions, including visual acuity, the visual field, colour vision and contrast sensitivity.

  • Neonatology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Epidemiology
  • Outcomes research
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