BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a potentially blinding disorder affecting premature infants. Our Eye Unit supports two neonatal intensive care units (NICUs), one provides neonatal surgical and medical facilities and the other is exclusively medical. Our objectives were to (1) to identify the annual rate of ROP treatments during the period 2009-2015 and (2) to estimate the incidence of ROP treatment in babies born very prematurely (<27 weeks).
SUBJECTS/METHODS: Records for all infants treated for ROP by our unit during the period 2009-2015 were reviewed. We calculated numbers treated in each year. Records of babies born under 27 weeks of gestation and cared for in the non-surgical NICU were also reviewed. Their requirement for laser treatments for ROP was calculated by the week of gestation at birth.
RESULTS: In the two NICUs combined, 95 infants were treated for ROP between 2009 and 2015. The numbers treated increased from 9/158 (5.7%) of babies screened in 2009 to 22/159 (13.8%) in 2015 (ptrend = 0.004). The rate of laser treatment for ROP increased as gestation at birth decreased: from 12/100 (12%) of babies born at 26 weeks to 17/29 (59%) of babies born at 23 weeks (ptrend = 0.001).
CONCLUSION: The number of laser treatments for ROP carried out by this unit has increased steadily between 2009 and 2015 and this may in part be due to the increased need for ROP treatment in extremely preterm babies, whose survival has increased in the same period. These data may aid planning for ROP services.