Pre-term infants with severe retinopathy more likely to have non-visual disabilities

In a group of very low-birth-weight infants, severe retinopathy of prematurity was associated with nonvisual disabilities at age 5 years, according to a study in the February 5 issue of JAMA.

Severe retinopathy (disease of the retina) of prematurity occurs in treated with excessive concentrations of oxygen and is a serious complication of for . "Although the incidence of severe retinopathy has increased since the late 1980s, blindness caused by retinopathy has become rare in developed countries. Consequently, clinicians and parents may conclude that severe retinopathy is no longer associated with childhood impairments," according to background information in the article.

Barbara Schmidt, M.D., M.Sc., of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and colleagues investigated whether infants with severe retinopathy retain an increased risk of nonvisual disabilities compared with those without severe retinopathy. This analysis (using data from a trial, Caffeine for Apnea of Prematurity), included infants with birth weights between 1.1 and 2.8 lbs. who were born between 1999 and 2004 and followed-up at age 5 years (2005-2011).

Of 1,815 eligible infants, 1,582 (87 percent) had complete (n = 1,523) or partial (n = 59) 5-year assessments. Of 95 with severe retinopathy, 40 percent had at least 1 nonvisual disability at 5 years compared with 16 percent of children without it. Fourteen of 94 children (15 percent) with and 36 of 1,487 children (2.4 percent) without severe retinopathy had more than 1 nonvisual disability. Motor impairment, cognitive impairment, and severe hearing loss were 3 to 4 times more common in children with severe retinopathy than those without severe retinopathy.

The authors write that these findings may help improve the ability to counsel parents and to select high-risk for long-term follow-up.

"Severe of remains an adverse outcome of neonatal intensive care with poor prognosis for child development, although blindness can mostly be prevented by timely retinal therapy."

More information: DOI: 10.1001/jama.282153

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Retinopathy severity linked to cardiovascular outcome

Jan 25, 2013

(HealthDay)—For individuals with type 2 diabetes, incident cardiovascular outcomes are determined not only by the severity of diabetic retinopathy but also by its progression, according to research published ...

AAP updates screening guide for retinopathy of prematurity

Jan 02, 2013

(HealthDay)—For the effective detection of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), at-risk infants should receive carefully timed retinal examinations (based on their gestational age) by an ophthalmologist experienced ...

Recommended for you

Youth are quietly losing their hearing

Aug 27, 2014

Children and teens constantly plugged into personal listening devices, such as phones, computers or music players, could be harming their ears without realizing it, says a Purdue University audiologist.

Quality childcare leads to benefits at school age

Aug 26, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—Children who receive a quality childcare experience at age 2-3 are more likely to be attentive and better able to deal with their emotions as they start school, according to new research from the University ...

Cold kids hot to trot in winter

Aug 26, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—Children are more active in winter than in spring and summer, a breakthrough Deakin University study has found.

User comments