Subclinical macular findings in infants screened for retinopathy of prematurity with spectral-domain optical coherence tomography

Ophthalmology. 2013 Aug;120(8):1665-71. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2013.01.028. Epub 2013 May 11.


Objective: To evaluate subclinical macular findings in premature patients at risk of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) with the use of handheld spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT).

Design: Prospective, observational case series.

Participants: Forty-nine prematurely born neonates.

Methods: Forty-nine infants were imaged using a handheld SD-OCT. Images were acquired in nonsedated infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Some patients were followed and reimaged over the course of several weeks. A total of 300 total images were acquired and evaluated for cystoid macular edema (CME) and persistence of inner retinal layers.

Main outcome measures: In vivo determination of foveal retinal lamination, image analysis, and clinical observation.

Results: A total of 241 (80%) of the images from 46 patients were usable (defined as having scans passing through the fovea with clearly identifiable retinal layers). Persistence of 1 or more inner retinal layers was seen in 43 of the patients with usable images (93%). Of the patients with at least 1 persistent layer, 17, 4, 8, 12, and 1, had a maximum ROP stage of 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4A, respectively. Cystoid macular edema was seen in 25 of the 46 patients (54%) during 1 or more imaging sessions. Cystoid macular edema was present in 9, 1, 5, 9, and 1 patient with maximum ROP stage of 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4A, respectively.

Conclusions: Our data suggest there is persistence of inner retinal layers in premature infants regardless of maximal ROP stage. Subclinical CME is seen in premature infants; however, CME does not appear to be correlated with ROP stage. This suggests that there may be other causes for the CME seen in this patient population. Hand-held SD-OCT imaging is a viable technique for evaluating subclinical macular findings in premature infants, although larger datasets are needed from multiple centers to further evaluate the generalizability of these findings.

Financial disclosure(s): The author(s) have no proprietary or commercial interest in any materials discussed in this article.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Birth Weight
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Macula Lutea / pathology*
  • Macular Edema / diagnosis*
  • Macular Edema / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retinopathy of Prematurity / classification
  • Retinopathy of Prematurity / diagnosis*
  • Retinopathy of Prematurity / physiopathology
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence*
  • Visual Acuity / physiology