Children Born Preterm May Suffer Vision Problems

Premature Babies at risk of vision, other problems

A study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology claims that children born too early may suffer eyesight problems from Retinopathy Of Prematurity (ROP), although cerebral damage, often referred to as cerebral visual impairment is often also a cause.

The study, done in Denmark, took a look at 178 extremely premature born Danish children with a gestational age of less than 28 weeks and a matching control group of 56 children that were born at full-term, between gestational week 37 to 42.

The study was quoted by Medical News Today as stating, “In conclusion, we herein demonstrate that, in Denmark, cerebral damage and ROP sequelae are independent risk factors for VA loss among preschool children born extremely premature and that the presence of cerebral damage is the primary risk factor of the two.”

Premature babies are at risk for a host of other developmental difficulties.

Medicalxpress.com reports that a United Nations-backed a study that claims 15 million babies were born prematurely in 2010, which may signal a coming problem.

Yet another study, published in Archives of General Psychiatry, points out that babies born before 32 weeks gestation have a greater chance of developing severe mental health disorders later in life.

Previous studies have shown premature babies to be at higher risk of other illness, but until now a direct correlation had not been seen between premature birth and mental health issues.

Medicalxpress.com reported that babies delivered prior to 32 weeks were 7.4 times as likely to be bipolar as an adult than the general population, 2.9 times more likely to have severe depression and 2.4 times as likely to have severe psychosis.

“We believe that the increased risk of mental disorders in those born very prematurely can be explained by alterations of brain development”, Professor Christina Hultman at Karolinska Institutet, who led the Swedish part of the study told Phys.org. “The immature nervous system in these children is particularly vulnerable to brain injury resulting from birth complications.”

The press release announcing the study noted that most babies born premature do go on to lead normal healthy live.

(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)