The optimum level of oxygen saturation for infants with prethreshold retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is unknown. We reviewed our conversion rate from prethreshold to threshold ROP between 1985 and 1993 during which time target levels of oxygen saturation rose in a stepwise fashion. A retrospective study of 153 infants with prethreshold ROP was performed at Stanford University between 1985 and 1993 that showed that target minimum oxygen saturation rose from 92% (1985-1987) to 95% (1988) to 96% (1989) to 99% (1990-1993). In addition, we looked at 26 infants between 1994 and 1996 who were excluded from the STOP-ROP study and who were not receiving supplemental oxygen in an effort to maintain equipoise for that study. Infant characteristics were tabulated, and rates of progression from prethreshold to threshold ROP were calculated. Rates of progression to threshold varied little between 1985 and 1989 (average 37%), but dropped to 7% for the period between 1990 and 1993. From 1994 through 1996 the rate of progression to threshold disease rose again, to 38%. Moderate supplemental oxygen (target saturation 99% with PO2 no higher than 100 mm Hg) was associated with regression of prethreshold ROP, without appearing to arrest retinal vascular maturation.