Early Treatment Helps Some Infants With Retinopathy

Improved visual acuity at age 6 seen in type 1 high-risk prethreshold retinopathy of prematurity

THURSDAY, April 15 (HealthDay News) -- Infants with type 1 high-risk prethreshold retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) who receive early treatment stand to benefit from improvements in visual acuity at age 6, while those with type 2 high-risk prethreshold ROP do not appear to similarly benefit, according to a study published online April 12 in the Archives of Ophthalmology.

William V. Good, M.D., of the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute in San Francisco, and colleagues in the Early Treatment for Retinopathy of Prematurity Cooperative Group used cryotherapy for early treatment of just one eye of 317 infants with high-risk prethreshold ROP in both eyes. The other eye was conventionally managed, with treatment beginning if ROP reached threshold severity. In another group with ROP in one eye, the affected eyes were randomized to either early treatment or conventional management. The researchers assessed visual acuity and retinal structure at 6 years of age.

Regarding incidence of unfavorable outcomes (acuity poor or blind/low-vision), the researchers found no statistically significant overall benefit for early treatment versus conventional management. Analysis of six-year visual acuity results by type showed there was a benefit of early treatment for type 1 eyes (25.1 versus 32.8 percent unfavorable outcome rate, P = .02) but not type 2 eyes (23.6 versus 19.4 percent, P = .37). Structural outcome was also found to be improved following early treatment in those with type 1 ROP.

"Early treatment for type 1 high-risk prethreshold eyes improved visual acuity outcomes at 6 years of age. Early treatment for type 2 high-risk prethreshold eyes did not," the authors write.

One study author reported receiving royalties from the sale of acuity cards.

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