Even after spontaneous regression of ROP, retinal problems persist

Pediatric Ophth/Strabismus, Retina/Vitreous

A single-center retrospective study evaluated residual characteristics of spontaneously regressing retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) seen at the end of acute-phase retinal screening examinations.

Study design

Investigators reviewed the records of 255 eyes in neonates with spontaneously regressed ROP that reached at least stage 1. The screening took place over a 3-year period and treated patients were not included. The primary outcome was presence of residual fibrotic retinal tissue at the conclusion of acute ROP screening examinations, as measured by a novel grading system.


At the end of the acute ROP screening period, most eyes with spontaneously regressed ROP did not have normal retinas; 81% had persistent avascular retina. One hundred percent of the eyes that had reached stage 3 ROP had residual fibrotic tissue, compared with 22% of the total cohort. None of the eyes were found to have retinal detachment.


The low number of stage 3 eyes limited statistical comparison with stage 1 and 2 eyes. Additionally, this study did not evaluate the clinical significance of the various structural findings.

Clinical significance

Patients with ROP, including spontaneously regressed ROP, are at increased risk of various eye pathologies throughout life. Characterizing the structural changes in this subset of children with ROP at the conclusion of acute screening could enable more individualized treatment plans and improve long-term outcomes. A common nomenclature and grading system would be useful for further studies to establish clinical significance.

Relevant Financial Disclosures: Dr. Jagger Koerner discloses no relevant financial relationships.

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