In premature babies, the development of the eyes – especially the retinal vessels on the fundus – is still ongoing. Due to the general immaturity of other organs and organ functions, it is possible for the natural maturation of the retinal vessels to be disturbed. Retinal detachment (congenital retinopathy) may result in uncontrolled vascular proliferation inside the eye.
The affected children also have an increased risk of later retinal disease, cataract or increased eye pressure. Even if no premature retinopathy has occurred, delayed visual development, squint and myopia are more common than in mature newborns. So regular eye checks are very important during the first years of life.