RETINOPATHY OF PREMATURITY - AN EMERGING CAUSE OF CHILDHOOD BLINDNESS IN ETHIOPIA
Keywords:Preterm birth, low birth weight, Retinopathy of prematurity, childhood blindness, Ethiopia
Aims: To establish the frequency and stage of ROP in preterm babies examined in a tertiary eye center and the outcomes of treatment.
Methods: Retrospective review of medical records of preterm infants attending WGGA eye center (June 2016-August 2019). Information on birth weight (BW), gestational age (GA), postmenstrual age at presentation, age at first examination, diagnosis and stage of ROP, and treatment outcomes were analyzed.
Results: 66 infants were included. 28 (42.4%) had ROP: 17 (25.8%) had vision-threatening ROP (any Zone I disease (n=1), Stage 2 or 3 in Zone II with plus disease (n=5), aggressive posterior ROP (n=1), or Stage 4 or 5 (n= 10)). The mean GA of these 17 infants was 28.4Â±1.6 (range 26-32) weeks; mean BW was 1172.7Â±259.6 (range 680â€“1800)g. Treatment was as follows: anti-VEGF injection 5; laser 1; anti-VEGF and laser 1; lens-sparing vitrectomy 1; laser, then lensectomy with vitrectomy 1. In 16 cases ROP regressed (10 spontaneously; 6 after treatment), and one failed follow up. One progressed to stage 4 despite extensive treatment. Ten (10/66, 15.2%) were blind or visually impaired.
Conclusions: Preterm infants at risk of ROP are now surviving in Ethiopia. There is a need to establish ROP screening and treatment services and to increase awareness. Wide criteria should be used initially to delineate the population at risk of vision threatening ROP in this context.
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