• Movements;
  • Neurodevelopmental outcome;
  • Perinatal risk factors;
  • Preterm infants;
  • Smooth pursuit eye;
  • Visual development


Aim:  To investigate the association between perinatal risk factors and neonatal complications and early oculo-motor development in very preterm infants.

Methods:  Perinatal risk factors were identified, and the potential association with early oculo-motor development was evaluated by measuring smooth pursuit eye movements (SP) at 2 and 4 months’ corrected age (CA) in a population of very preterm infants born in Uppsala County 2004–2007 (n = 113).

Results:  Among the 15 tested factors, eight showed significant association in univariate analysis with lower levels of SP at 4 months’ CA, namely administration of prenatal corticosteroids, gestational age, birthweight, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, retinopathy of prematurity, periventricular leukomalacia, intraventricular haemorrhage >grade 2, and persistent ductus arteriosus. At 2 months’ CA, only retinopathy of prematurity >stage 2 was associated with lower levels of SP. When all factors significant in the univariate tests were included in multiple regressions aimed to assess each factor’s independent relation to SP, periventricular leukomalacia was the only significant independent factor. When adding 2–5 of the significant factors using multiple regression analysis, the levels of SP became lower.

Conclusion:  Perinatal risk factors were associated with lower levels of SP. This could be interpreted as delayed or disturbed development of normal oculomotor ability.