University of Edinburgh

Prematurity and Vision

Friday 3 March 2006

Gopi Menon Neonatal Unit, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh

How healthy are children who were born prematurely?

neonatal deaths by gestation

Born at just under 24 weeks, the legal abortion limit, Layla is a miracle baby.
She has no disabilities and an above average IQ.

Nine-year-old Bright has severe cerebral palsy.
He cannot walk or talk and requires full time care from his parents.

Picture of baby on intensive care

picture of baby on intensive care

Brain injury

brain injury

brain haemorrhage


  • Cerebral palsy
  • Visual impairment
  • Hearing impairment
  • Clumsiness and learning difficulties
  • Chronic lung, bowel and kidney problems
  • Short stature
  • Scarring
  • Psychosocial effects

Disability in survivors

disability in survivors

Severe Disability

1. Malformation with impairment 2
2. Neuromotor: Unable to control head, sit, walk, use hands to feed 10
3. Seizures not controlled 0
4. Hearing impairment, severe 3
5. Communication: poor comprehension, poor vocalisation 2
6. Vision: blind/sensitive to light 0
7. Other major health problem 3
2+5 1
2+7 1