A new strategy to help doctors determine when to treat the potentially-blinding condition retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) has been developed.
The research, which is published in an online issue of Archives of Ophthalmology and was supported by the National Eye Institute, shows that through eye examinations, doctors can identify infants who are most likely to benefit from early treatment.
Dr John Flynn, principal investigator of the study, said that the research shows that early treatment for high-risk premature babies can improve their vision and promises to "transform" the way babies with ROP are treated.
"We showed there isn"t a single treatment strategy that works for all infants with ROP, but rather that doctors need to determine whether the baby has a mild or severe form of the disease before proceeding with retinal surgery," added study co-author Dr. Michael Chiang.
It echoes research printed in a recent issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals, which suggested that certain children with the visual condition known as retinopathy of prematurity can see better at the age of six if they receive treatment early.
by Emily Tait