Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Early Treatment Can Prevent Severe Vision Loss In Premature Infants

Date:
December 9, 2003
Source:
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Summary:
A new study by specialists at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center and 25 other institutions nationwide for the first time gives eye doctors a precise way to identify premature babies at the highest risk of abnormal blood vessel growth in the retina and subsequent blindness.

A new study by specialists at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center and 25 other institutions nationwide for the first time gives eye doctors a precise way to identify premature babies at the highest risk of abnormal blood vessel growth in the retina and subsequent blindness. The computerized risk assessment tool they used should lead to treatment of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) at its earliest stages, stopping or limiting both loss of vision and structural damage to the eye.

Related Articles


"Before this study, we did not have a precise clinical model to follow to help predict which infants will ultimately develop vision loss from ROP, so we often had to defer treatment until the disease reached the treatment 'threshold,' at which point there was still a 25 percent chance of retinal detachment," says Michael Repka, M.D., a pediatric ophthalmologist at the Children's Center, and a member of the study team. "Unfortunately, delaying therapy to that point leaves some infants with vision loss."

Using both old and new criteria, researchers were able to identify which premature infants enrolled in the study were at highest risk for blindness. Results of their study, published in the December issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology, show that early treatment significantly reduced the likelihood of poor vision from 19.5 to 14.5 percent at about one year of age. Early treatment also reduced the likelihood of structural damage to the eye from 15.6 to 9.1 percent.

According to Repka, ROP presents ophthalmologists with difficult treatment decisions because the disease can be highly unpredictable. In many infants, he says, it can spontaneously improve and spare the child's vision, while in others, it can suddenly progress and result in blindness.

For the study, the researchers identified 499 out of 828 infants diagnosed at birth with ROP as being at higher than usual risk for vision loss, based on the computerized guide that assessed birth weight, ethnicity, gestational age, direct examination of the eye, whether the infant was a single or multiple birth baby, and whether the infant had been born in a hospital that participated in the study.

Once the high risk babies were identified, 401 were randomly assigned to get either early treatment or treatment at the standard threshold. Visual activity of all infants was checked at 6 months of age, and structural outcomes were examined at 6 and 9 months of age.

Current ROP treatments - laser therapy and cryotherapy - use either heat or freezing temperatures to destroy the outer portions of the retina, slowing or reversing the abnormal growth of blood vessels A potential side effect of these treatments, known as retinal ablation, can lead to a partial loss of peripheral or side vision. However, Repka says the benefits of ROP treatments far outweighed any potential risks.

"Although there is a slight risk with ROP treatment, the benefits of these treatments are hard to ignore, since they preserve the most important part of vision - the sharp, central vision needed to read, see faces, or perform detailed tasks that require hand-eye coordination," said Repka.

Because visual activity continues to develop during infancy and early childhood, the study will continue to follow these infants until the age of 6 years to ensure that the benefits of early treatment persist into childhood.

Each year ROP affects an estimated 14,000 to 16,000 premature, low birth weight infants in the United States and thousands more worldwide, making it a leading cause of vision loss in children. Of these cases, approximately 1,500 infants will develop severe ROP that requires treatment. Despite available treatment, about 400 to 600 infants with ROP still become legally blind each year. Researchers have identified birth weight of 2.75 pounds (1,250 grams) or less as a major risk factor for developing ROP.

The study was funded by the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Early Treatment Can Prevent Severe Vision Loss In Premature Infants." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 December 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/12/031209080544.htm>.
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. (2003, December 9). Early Treatment Can Prevent Severe Vision Loss In Premature Infants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/12/031209080544.htm
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Early Treatment Can Prevent Severe Vision Loss In Premature Infants." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/12/031209080544.htm (accessed October 26, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

AFP (Oct. 25, 2014) — An American nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for a Liberian patient in Texas has been declared free of the virus and will leave the hospital. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Toxin-Packed Stem Cells Used To Kill Cancer

Toxin-Packed Stem Cells Used To Kill Cancer

Newsy (Oct. 25, 2014) — A Harvard University Research Team created genetically engineered stem cells that are able to kill cancer cells, while leaving other cells unharmed. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) — IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) — A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins