Visual acuity, optical components, and macular abnormalities in patients with a history of retinopathy of prematurity

Ophthalmology. 2012 Sep;119(9):1907-16. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2012.02.040. Epub 2012 May 10.


Purpose: To examine the optical components and spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (OCT) findings in children with a history of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) and to identify any associations between the OCT findings and the visual acuities of the patients.

Design: Prospective, case-controlled study.

Participants and controls: Children who were between 6 and 14 years of age were divided into the following 4 groups: Patients with a history of threshold ROP who had been treated using laser therapy or cryotherapy (group 1), patients with regressed ROP who had not received any treatment (group 2), patients who were born prematurely but who had no history of ROP (group 3), and normal full-term children (group 4). The posterior poles of the eyes of all of the patients seemed to be normal.

Methods: Visual acuities, optical components, and macular thicknesses were measured in 4 groups of patients, and comparisons between the groups were made. Macular thicknesses were measured using OCT.

Main outcome measures: Visual acuity (VA), optical components, and OCT findings.

Results: We enrolled 133 patients in the study. Patients in group 1 had significantly thicker foveas than the other patients, as demonstrated by OCT, and this finding was negatively correlated with gestational age. The incidence of abnormal foveal contours among patients in group 1 was significantly higher than among the rest of the patients. Retention of the inner retinal layers was noted in group 1 patients; however, the structure of the outer retina remained intact. Greater degrees of myopic shift and astigmatism, steeper corneal curvatures, shallower anterior chamber depths, and thicker lenses were noted in previously treated ROP patients. These findings corresponded with poor VA and high refractive errors in group 1 patients.

Conclusions: Patients with a history of threshold ROP are more likely to show abnormal foveal development and have a poorer visual prognosis than other patient groups despite a fundus with no macular dragging, disc dragging, or retinal detachment. A steeper corneal curvature, shallower anterior chamber, and greater lens thickness are the main changes in the optical components in these patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Birth Weight
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Cryotherapy
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Laser Therapy
  • Macula Lutea / pathology*
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Refractive Errors / physiopathology*
  • Retinopathy of Prematurity / physiopathology*
  • Retinopathy of Prematurity / surgery
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence
  • Visual Acuity / physiology*