Two hundred children who were of very low birth weight (VLBW) (1500 g or less) and 193 controls who were of normal birth weight (NBW) were examined at approximately 9 years of age. Binocular visual acuity of 6/6 or better was noted in 178 (89.5%) VLBW children and 189 (97.9%) NBW children. Visual morbidity was significantly higher among VLBW children. Strabismus was present in 38 (19%), cicatricial retinopathy of prematurity in 13 (6.5%), and optic atrophy in six (3%) children in this group. Children who were VLBW were also more myopic than the NBW controls. Optic atrophy was frequently associated with cerebral dysfunction. Regular assessments to identify ocular abnormalities in children who were VLBW are recommended.
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