A Swedish study has found that retinal development was abnormal in children born extremely prematurely. The children studied had a significantly thicker central macula and both rod and cone function were significantly reduced compared to children born at term.
Optical coherence tomography (OCT), multifocal electroretinography (mfERG) and full-field electroretinography (ffERG) were used to compare the retinal structure and function of children who born extremely prematurely with those born at term.
A total of four papers were completed. The first two papers collected normative data of macular Cirrus Spectral domain (SD)-OCT assessments and of mfERG measurements of healthy children aged five to 15. The third and fourth papers assessed macular thickness with Cirrus SD-OCT and the retinal function with ffERG in 6.5-year-old children born extremely preterm and in children born at term.
The authors wrote, “Children aged 6.5 years, born extremely preterm, had a significantly thicker central macula and both rod and cone function were significantly reduced in comparison to children born at term. ROP had an influence on retinal structure but not retinal function in the present cohorts. Our results suggest that retinal development is abnormal in children born extremely preterm. Long-term follow-up studies are necessary in order to evaluate the functional ophthalmological outcome in this vulnerable population of children growing up today.”