Retinopathy of Prematurity Can Progress Rapidly

But progression from type 2 to type 1 can usually be identified with weekly examinations

MONDAY, April 19 (HealthDay News) -- Usually, in infants with type 2 retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), progression to type 1 of the condition can be identified with weekly examinations, but a subset of infants progresses to type 1 in fewer than seven days, according to a study in the April issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

Stephen P. Christiansen, M.D., of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and colleagues examined 294 eyes of infants who had low-risk prethreshold ROP with type 2 characteristics. The researchers re-examined the eyes every two to four days for a minimum of two weeks and analyzed the time to conversion from type 2 to type 1 ROP.

The researchers found that 22.1 percent of the eyes progressed from type 2 to type 1 ROP (mean nine days; median seven days). Of the eyes with type 2 ROP that underwent a second examination in fewer than seven days, 11.5 percent converted from type 2 to type 1 in fewer than seven days. Of those that remained type 2 at their second examination, 15.7 percent that had a third examination in fewer than seven days converted to type 1 within fewer than seven days of the second examination.

"The analysis presented in this article shows that progression to type 1 ROP occurs at an interval of a week or more in most eyes that have type 2 ROP. However, eyes that are newly diagnosed with type 2 ROP have approximately a 12 to 16 percent risk of developing type 1 disease within six days, and this risk extends to at least the second follow-up examination," the authors write.

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