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Premature babies are babies born before the expected date of delivery of their mothers. Usually, this happens as a result of unexpected medical emergencies that might arise during pregnancy. The overall health of premature babies is very delicate at birth, thereby putting them at risk of having health problems visually.

This is because the eyes of an unborn baby develop the most during the last trimester of pregnancy. Therefore, the earlier a baby is born, the higher their chances of having eye problems. This is mostly the result of abnormal blood vessel development.

Although the eyes might look normal, you will most likely notice that your baby doesn’t respond to moving objects or changes in light. This is a warning sign of these underlying conditions.

Retinopathy of Prematurity

This eye disease is a condition that develops when blood vessels grow abnormally in the eye of a premature baby. Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) is most common among babies born before 31 weeks. Premature delivery interrupts the normal growth of the blood vessels in the eyes, resulting in an abnormal formation in the retina, altering the flow of oxygen to the eyes.

This can damage the retina if the abnormal blood vessels begin to swell and leak blood. When this happens, the retina might detach from the eyeball, resulting in visual problems such as blindness, farsightedness, glaucoma, lazy eye, crossed eyes, nearsightedness, e.t.c. which would occur later in childhood and adulthood.


Also known as crossed eyes, this is an eye condition that’s common among children below the age of five. This is caused by either weak cranial nerves or an underlying problem with the eye muscles. When it happens, one or both eyes are misaligned and, if not diagnosed and treated early, it could result in permanent visual problems.


This is a rare condition that can result from ROP or some premature babies being born without certain parts of the eye, such as the eyeball or iris. This results in vision loss.

It is, therefore, important for premature babies to undergo regular eye exams to detect any of these eye conditions listed above. After detection, discuss possible treatment methods with your baby’s doctor to prevent permanent damage to the eyes.