Pilot study of the systemic effects of three different screening methods used for retinopathy of prematurity

Early Hum Dev. 2005 Apr;81(4):355-60. doi: 10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2004.09.005. Epub 2004 Dec 8.


Purpose: This pilot study compared the physiological and behavioural changes in premature infants undergoing three different methods of screening for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP).

Study design: Prospective randomized cross-over pilot study.

Subjects and methods: Fifteen premature infants requiring screening for ROP were recruited, and physiological and behavioural responses produced by three different methods of screening were compared. The screening methods employed a RetCam 120 and an indirect ophthalmoscope with and without an eyelid speculum. Physiological indices (change in pulse, mean blood pressure and oxygen saturation) and facial responses to pain (brow bulge, eye squeeze, nasolabial fold, mouth opening and the presence of cry) were recorded at five points: before, during and immediately after screening and 10 and 30 min after examination.

Results: Screening with the RetCam 120 and the indirect ophthalmoscope with a speculum both caused a greater change in pulse and mean blood pressure and an increase in facial responses to pain during and immediately after screening as compared to the indirect ophthalmoscope without the speculum. RetCam 120 screening caused greater desaturation than the other methods.

Conclusions: Although this was a small sample which limits absolute conclusions, the study showed that screening using a RetCam or a speculum and indirect ophthalmoscope caused more stress to the infant, as indicated by physiological and behavioural changes, than simply screening using an indirect ophthalmoscope without a speculum. These effects should be considered when deciding on the appropriate screening method for examining particularly sick infants.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Face
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant Behavior
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retinopathy of Prematurity / diagnosis*
  • Retinoscopy / methods*
  • Time Factors