Late-Onset Retinal Findings and Complications in Untreated Retinopathy of Prematurity


Hamad AE, Moinuddin O, Blair MP, Schechet SA, Shapiro MJ, Quiram PA, Mammo DA, Berrocal AM, Prakhunhungsit S, Cernichiaro-Espinosa LA, Mukai S, Yonekawa Y, Ung C, Holz ER, Harper AC, Young RC, Besirli CG, Nagiel A, Lee TC, Gupta MP, Walsh MK, Khawly JA, Campbell PJ, Kychenthal A, Nudleman ED, Robinson JE, Hartnett ME, Calvo CM, Chang EY. Late-Onset Retinal Findings and Complications in Untreated Retinopathy of Prematurity. Ophthalmol Retina 2020;4(6):602-612.

Date Published:

2020 06


PURPOSE: To investigate late retinal findings and complications of eyes with a history of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) that did not meet treatment criteria and did not receive treatment during infancy. DESIGN: Retrospective, nonconsecutive, noncomparative, multicenter case series. PARTICIPANTS: Three hundred sixty-three eyes of 186 patients. METHODS: Data were requested from multiple providers on premature patients with a history of ROP and no treatment during infancy who demonstrated late retinal findings or complications and included age, gender, gestational age and weight, zone and stage at infancy, visual acuity, current retina vascularization status, vitreous character, presence of peripheral retinal findings such as lattice retinal tears and detachments (RDs), retinoschisis, and fluorescein findings. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Rate of RDs and factors conferring a higher risk of RDs. RESULTS: The average age was 34.5 years (range, 7-76 years), average gestational age was 26.6 weeks (range, 23-34 weeks), and average birth weight was 875 g (range, 425-1590 g). Findings included lattice in 196 eyes (54.0%), atrophic holes in 126 eyes (34.7%), retinal tears in 111 eyes (30.6%), RDs in 140 eyes (38.6 %), tractional retinoschisis in 44 eyes (11.9%), and visible vitreous condensation ridge-like interface in 112 eyes (30.5%). Fluorescein angiography (FA) was performed in 113 eyes, of which 59 eyes (52.2%) showed leakage and 16 eyes (14.2%) showed neovascularization. Incomplete vascularization posterior to zone 3 was common (71.6% of eyes). Retinal detachments were more likely in patients with a gestational age of 29 weeks or less (P < 0.05) and in eyes with furthest vascularization to posterior zone 2 eyes compared with zone 3 eyes (P = 0.009). CONCLUSIONS: Eyes with ROP not meeting the treatment threshold during infancy showed various late retinal findings and complications, of which RDs were the most concerning. Complications were seen in all age groups, including patients born after the Early Treatment for Retinopathy of Prematurity Study. Contributing factors to RDs included atrophic holes within peripheral avascular retina, visible vitreous condensation ridge-like interface with residual traction, and premature vitreous syneresis. We recommend regular examinations and consideration of ultra-widefield FA examinations. Prospective studies are needed to explore the frequency of complications and benefit of prophylactic treatment and if eyes treated with anti-vascular endothelial growth factor therapy are at risk of similar findings and complications.

Last updated on 06/30/2020