Background and Objectives: Delayed detection of type 1 retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) can lead to permanent visual impairment. Providing ROP examinations is challenging because of the limited ophthalmology workforce. This study compares digital imaging-based ROP detection strategies versus serial ROP examinations. Methods: We conducted an individual-level microsimulation studyof a hypothetical cohort of 650 infants with gestational age from 23 to 30 weeks. Infants were evaluated by using strategies based on indirect ophthalmoscopy or digital imaging beginning at 32 weeks' postmenstrual age (PMA) and continuing to discharge, transfer, or 40 weeks' PMA. ROP status and the accuracy of digital imaging were based on the e-ROP (Telemedicine Approaches to Evaluating Acute-Phase ROP) study, which enrolled high-risk infants. Results: Within the hypothetical NICU, the strategy of ROP examinations identified an average of 45.8 cases of type 1 ROP by discharge, transfer, or 40 weeks' PMA, and another 1.9 cases were included in the group of infants recommended to have later follow-up. Digital imaging with an ROP examination at discharge identified all 47.7 cases of type 1 ROP. On average, the ROP examination-only strategy required 1745.7 ROP examinations, whereas digital imaging with a discharge examination required 1065.5 ROP examinations and 1786.2 digital imaging sessions. Conclusions: Although digital imaging decreased the number of ROP examinations per infant, there was an increase in the total number of interventions (ie, ROP examinations and imaging sessions). Providing an ROP examination at the time of NICU discharge can significantly reduce the number of infants who require follow-up.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health