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Convergence and accommodation development is pre-programmed in premature infants

Horwood, A. M., Toor, S. and Riddell, P. M. (2015) Convergence and accommodation development is pre-programmed in premature infants. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 56. pp. 5370-5380. ISSN 0146-0404

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1167/iovs.14-15358

Abstract/Summary

Purpose This study investigated whether vergence and accommodation development in pre-term infants is pre-programmed or is driven by experience. Methods 32 healthy infants, born at mean 34 weeks gestation (range 31.2-36 weeks) were compared with 45 healthy full-term infants (mean 40.0 weeks) over a 6 month period, starting at 4-6 weeks post-natally. Simultaneous accommodation and convergence to a detailed target were measured using a Plusoptix PowerRefII infra-red photorefractor as a target moved between 0.33m and 2m. Stimulus/response gains and responses at 0.33m and 2m were compared by both corrected (gestational) age and chronological (post-natal) age. Results When compared by their corrected age, pre-term and full-term infants showed few significant differences in vergence and accommodation responses after 6-7 weeks of age. However, when compared by chronological age, pre-term infants’ responses were more variable, with significantly reduced vergence gains, reduced vergence response at 0.33m, reduced accommodation gain, and increased accommodation at 2m, compared to full-term infants between 8-13 weeks after birth. Conclusions When matched by corrected age, vergence and accommodation in pre-term infants show few differences from full-term infants’ responses. Maturation appears pre-programmed and is not advanced by visual experience. Longer periods of immature visual responses might leave pre-term infants more at risk of development of oculomotor deficits such as strabismus.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Development
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Perception and Action
ID Code:40636
Uncontrolled Keywords:Convergence Accommodation Development Prematurity Strabismus
Publisher:Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology

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