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Hanna Åkerblom, Sten Andreasson, Eva Larsson, Gerd Holmström; Photoreceptor Function in School-Aged Children is Affected by Preterm Birth. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2014;3(6):7. doi: 10.1167/tvst.3.6.7.
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Prematurely born children have affected visual functions at school age. Optical coherent tomography (OCT) has shown morphological changes in the retina, suggesting a disturbance in normal retinal development in these children. The aim of this study was to examine retinal function with fullfield electroretinogram (ffERG) in school-aged children born prematurely and compare with children born at term. A second aim was to correlate retinal function with visual acuity (VA), gestational age (GA), birth weight, and retinopathy of prematurity (ROP).
The study group consisted of 35 former preterm children born before GA of 32 weeks. A group of 42 children born at term acted as controls. All children were between 5- and 18-years old. FfERG was performed in both eyes. Best-corrected VA and refraction in cycloplegia was determined.
The a-wave of the combined rod/cone responses was significantly reduced in the prematurely-born children compared with children born at term. There was a correlation between reduced a-wave amplitude in the combined rod/cone response and ROP and GA at birth.
Function of photoreceptors was affected in prematurely born children, possibly also in children without previous ROP. Whether immaturity per se affects the retinal function remains to be elucidated.
Translational Relevance: :
The present study illustrates that electrophysiological studies of the retinal function can help us understand visual dysfunctions in prematurely born children.
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