Objective: We sought to find out whether birth weight of less than 1251 g or gestational age less than 30 weeks could provide a safe and efficient screening criteria of detecting treatable retinopathy of prematurity (ROP).
Methods: Infants either with a birth weight less than 1500 g or gestational age less than 32 weeks were screened for ROP during an 8-year period.
Results: In our study, the incidence of ROP was 36 of 187 (19.3%) infants. Although there was a slight increase in the number of infants screened over the years, the incidence of ROP of any stage remained stable. The maximum stage of ROP reached was stage 1 in 10 of 187 (5.3%), stage 2 in 8 of 187 (4.3%), and stage 3 in 18 of 187 (9.6%) infants. Among those with stage 3 disease, threshold ROP was present in 16 of 18 (88.9%). All infants with threshold ROP had a BW less than 1100 g and gestational age less than or equal to 28 weeks. Significantly fewer babies (105/187, or 56%) would have been examined had inclusion criteria of a birth weight of less than 1251 g and gestational age less than 30 weeks been applied. In addition, 31% (134/437) of screening examinations could have been avoided.
Conclusions: Our study suggests that a birth weight of less than 1251 g and gestational age less than 30 weeks can be safely and efficiently used to screen infants without missing a diagnosis of sight-threatening ROP in our catchment population.