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Development of smooth pursuit eye movements in very preterm infants: 1. General aspects

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Abstract Aim: 

To investigate early oculo-motor development in a population-based cohort of very preterm infants. Methods: 

Early oculo-motor development was prospectively studied by measuring smooth pursuit eye movements at 2 and 4 months corrected age in a population of very preterm infants born in Uppsala County 2004–2007. Eighty-one preterm infants were studied, and 32 healthy term infants constituted the control group. Results: 

The study group consisted of infants with a mean gestational age of 28 + 5 weeks. At 2 and 4 months corrected age, infants born very preterm showed lower gain (p < 0.001) and proportion of smooth pursuit eye movements (p < 0.001) compared to the control group. The boys showed higher gain of smooth pursuit eye movements at both 2 and 4 months corrected age, compared to girls. Conclusions: 

Oculo-motor development measured by smooth pursuit eye movements is delayed in very preterm infants at 2 and 4 months corrected age. This might be a risk factor or early indicator of later perceptual and behavioural impairment.

Keywords: Infant development; Oculo-motor; Preterm infant; Smooth pursuit eye movements

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Uppsala university, Uppsala, Sweden 2: Department of Psychology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden 3: Department of Neuroscience, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden 4: Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation (IFAU) and Department of Economics, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

Publication date: July 1, 2011

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