Ocular and/or visual defects were diagnosed by age 2 years in 2.1% of infants born in 1984 in one health district. Infants of low birth weight or infants requiring special care in the neonatal period had a two and a half times greater risk of vision and ocular defects than the remainder of the population. In particular, the rate of squint and neurological disease affecting the visual system was significantly greater in this high risk group than in the low risk group. The degree of visual impairment in the high risk group tended to be more severe than in the low risk group. Overall, however, the majority of children with vision or ocular defects (85%) were in the low risk group.