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Hanna M Akerblom, Gerd Holmstrom, Sten Andreasson; Macular function measured with mfERG in prematurely-born children at school-age. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(13):3504.
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Children born preterm have affected visual functions compared to children born at term, including decreased visual acuity and reduced contrast vision. We have previously shown morphological changes, measured with optical coherent tomography (OCT), of the macula of prematurely-born children. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the function of the macula with multifocal electroretinogram (mfERG) and investigate correlations between macular function and visual acuity (VA), gestational age (GA), birth weight (BW) and central macular thickness measured with OCT.
A preterm group of nine children, 9-13 years old, born before 32 weeks of gestation, were evaluated with multifocal mfERG (VERIS, EDI) and OCT (CIRRUS, Carl Zeiss, Meditec). Their mean gestational age at birth was 29 weeks and mean birth weight was 1259 g. Four children had no retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) and five had mild ROP in the neonatal period. A group of 11 full-term children, 8-19 years old, with normal visual acuity, were used as controls. A program with 103 hexagones stimulation was used and the amplitudes and implicit times of the first positive peak, P1, were presented in five concentric rings and a “sum of all groups”, ring 1 being the most central ring.
The amplitudes of the P1 response of ring 1 and 2 were significantly reduced in the preterm group compared to controls (p=0.05) Ring 3-5 and “sum of all groups” were borderline. The implicit times of the P1 response showed no difference between the two groups. There was no correlation between P1 amplitude and implicit times with VA, GA, BW or central macular thickness.
The central macular function, measured with mfERG, is reduced in school-aged, prematurely born children compare to children born at term. These results could be one reason why children born preterm have affected visual functions even if they had no or only mild ROP in the neonatal period. A possible explanation is that preterm birth per se affects the development of the macula leading to permanent morphological as well as functional changes.
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