Exploring the relationship between preterm birth and visual function

Children born preterm can experience ophthalmic and neuro ophthalmic problems, due to the perinatal damages especially due to the phenomenon of retrograde transynaptic degeneration. Transynaptic degeneration occurs when neurons and axons undergo degeneration following injury of the cells they synapse with. The connections between preterm birth and its long term effects on the visual function in adults have been studied before (Jain et al JAMA 2022; Pétursdóttir et al Acta Paediatrica 2021; Grey et al Pediatrics 2002). Adults born preterm had lower distance and near visual acuity and contrast sensitivity. They also showed increased thickness of the inner and outer retinal layers and reduced visual acuity (Siva et al Ophthalmology 2019). .
There is still a lack of understanding in the literature about the relationship between gestation and vision-related quality of life. Also, there is little understanding about the role that prematurity (early, moderate and late) plays in visual function at the level of the general population. For these reasons we are interested in studying the relationship between gestation-related issues and visual functioning later in life through the population-based database Lifelines.

year of approval



  • Visio Revalidatie & Advies Nijmegen

primary applicant

  • Jansonius, N.