International variations and trends in the treatment for retinopathy of prematurity

Br J Ophthalmol. 2017 Oct;101(10):1399-1404. doi: 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2016-310041. Epub 2017 Mar 7.


Objective: To compare the rates of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) and treatment of ROP by laser or intravitreal anti-vascular endothelial growth factor among preterm neonates from high-income countries participating in the International Network for Evaluating Outcomes (iNeo) of neonates.

Methods: A retrospective cohort study was conducted on extremely preterm infants weighing <1500 g at 240 to 276 weeks' gestation who were admitted to neonatal units in Australia/New Zealand, Canada, Finland, Israel, Japan, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tuscany (Italy) and the UK between 2007 and 2013. Pairwise comparisons of ROP treatment in survivors between countries were evaluated by Poisson and multivariable logistic regression analyses after adjustment for confounders. A composite outcome of death or ROP treatment was compared between countries using logistic regression and standardised ratios.

Results: Of 48 087 infants included in the analysis, 81.8% survived to 32 weeks postmenstrual age, and 95% of survivors were screened for ROP. Rates of any ROP ranged from 25.2% to 91.0% in Switzerland and Japan, respectively, among those examined. The overall rate of those receiving treatment was 24.9%, which varied from 4.3% to 30.4%. Adjusted risk ratios for ROP treatment were lower for Switzerland in all pairwise comparisons, whereas Japan displayed significantly higher ratios. Comparisons of the composite outcome between countries revealed similar, but less marked differences.

Conclusions: Rates of any ROP and ROP treatment varied significantly between iNeo members, while an overall decline in ROP treatment was observed during the study period. It is unclear whether these variations represent differences in care practices, diagnosis and/or treatment thresholds.

Keywords: Child health (paediatrics); Epidemiology; Retina.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Extremely Premature
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Laser Therapy / statistics & numerical data
  • Laser Therapy / trends
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Ophthalmologic Surgical Procedures / statistics & numerical data
  • Ophthalmologic Surgical Procedures / trends
  • Ophthalmology / statistics & numerical data
  • Ophthalmology / trends*
  • Retinopathy of Prematurity / epidemiology
  • Retinopathy of Prematurity / mortality
  • Retinopathy of Prematurity / therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors