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Risk factors for strabismus in children born before 32 weeks’ gestation
  1. Philippa M Pennefathera,
  2. Michael P Clarkea,
  3. Nicholas P Stronga,
  4. David G Cottrellb,
  5. Jonathan Duttonc,
  6. Win Tind
  1. aDepartment of Ophthalmology, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne, bDepartment of Ophthalmology, Newcastle General Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne, cDepartment of Clinical Audit, Southport and Formby District General Hospital, Southport, dRegional Maternity Survey Office, Newcastle upon Tyne
  1. Mrs P M Pennefather, St Paul’s Eye Unit, Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Prescot Street, Liverpool L7 8XP.


AIM To investigate risk factors associated with strabismus in children born prematurely.

METHODS Prospective study of all children born before 32 weeks’ gestation between 1 January 1990 and 31 December 1991 in a geographically defined population of approximately 3 million in the Northern Region of the United Kingdom. All children were examined aged 2 years by the same ophthalmologist and paediatrician.

RESULTS 558 children (98.6% of study group) were examined. Logistic regression showed an increased risk of strabismus in children with cicatricial retinopathy of prematurity (p=0.02), refractive error (p=0.003), family history of strabismus (p<0.0001), and poor neurodevelopmental outcome (p<0.0001), in particular impaired locomotor skills (p=0.008) and hand-eye coordination (p=0.001). Gestational age and regressed acute ROP were not independent risk factors for strabismus (p=0.92 and 0.85 respectively).

CONCLUSIONS This study has identified factors which are independently related to strabismus (although not necessarily causative) and others which are related only indirectly. This may contribute both to the management of children born prematurely and to future studies of the aetiology of strabismus.

  • ocular outcome
  • prematurity
  • strabismus

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