We studied the effect of early visual experience on the development of visual acuity (VA) in preterm infants. We assessed VA using the acuity card method in 63 very low birth weight (VLBW) infants, bwt 700-1495g (1150±240;X±SD), gest. age 25.8-35.0 wks (30.2±4.3). VA was assessed at 11.3-20.3 wks postnatal age (pa) (15.8±2.2), corresponding with 2.1-9.1 wks corrected age (ca) (6.0±1.3). Funduscopy was normal in all infants. The results were compared with those obtained in fullterm low risk infants at the age of 6.8 and 15.9 wks:
*: min. of arc ± octaves (17.7 min. of arcx6/106 Snellen equiv.) The results show that visual acuity assessed with the acuity card procedure is significant lower (p<0.01. Student's t-test) in VLBW infants in comparison with low risk infants of the same postnatal age, but is not different when age is corrected for prematurity. The present results fail to demonstrate an acceleration of acuity development by early visual stimulation.