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Abstract #3732

Understanding the Effects of Prematurity on the Visual System Using Diffusion MRI

Dolly Thai1, Deanne K. Thompson1, 2, Lex W. Doyle1, 3, Jeanie Cheong1, 3, Michael J. Kean1, Jeff Neil4, Terrie E. Inder1, 4, Peter J. Ande

1Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Royal Children's Hospital, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; 2Centre for Neuroscience, Florey Neuroscience Institutes,University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; 3Royal Women's Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; 4St Louis Childrens Hospital, Washington University in St Louis, St Louis, MO, United States

Children born very preterm are at risk of developing visual impairments. This study examines 142 very preterm and 32 full-term 7 year old children scanned with a 3T MRI scanner. Optic radiations were reconstructed using constrained spherical deconvolution. Radial diffusivity was significantly higher in preterm children, thus myelination appears to be particularly disrupted, especially in the more anterior segments of the optic radiation. These changes were associated with visual field defects and poorer visual acuity. In conclusion, the microstructural organisation of the optic radiation is less developed in preterm children, which negatively impacts visual function at seven years.