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Paediatr Child Health. 1998 May-Jun; 3(3): 197.
PMCID: PMC2851331

Retinopathy of prematurity: Recommendations for screening

Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a disorder that can cause blindness in premature infants. It is now known that many infants with this disorder who are treated with ablative therapy in a timely fashion will avoid this serious outcome. It is essential that those caring for premature infants know who is at risk of retinopathy of prematurity, when screening must begin and how often these infants need to be examined. It is also important to know when to treat those infants who develop severe retinopathy of prematurity and what long term follow-up is needed to manage other complications of retinopathy of prematurity. Table 1 provides answers to these questions. The background data upon which these recommendations are based are found in the accompanying article (pages 173–180) in this issue of Paediatrics & Child Health.

Summary of recommendations for screening the Canadian population

The recommendations are based on currently available information. Further research is needed in the following areas: systematic reviews of new therapies (eg, surfactant) and their impact on ROP; prevention of ROP; randomized trials of the currently available surgical treatment for ROP; and a Canadian surveillance system for ROP.


A joint guideline with the Canadian Association of Paediatric Ophthalmologists


Members: Drs Daniel Faucher, Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal, Quebec; Douglas McMillan (chair), Foothills Hospital, Calgary, Alberta; Arne Ohlsson, Women’s College Hospital, Toronto, Ontario; Michael Vincer (principal author), IWK Grace Health Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia; Robin Walker, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Ottawa, Ontario; John Watts (director responsible), Children’s Hospital at Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation, Hamilton, Ontario

Liaisons: Ms Debbie Askin, St Boniface Hospital, Winnipeg, Manitoba (Neonatal Nursing); Drs Cheryl Levitt, McMaster University Medical Centre, Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation, Hamilton, Ontario (College of Family Physicians); William Oh, Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, Rhode Island (Committee on Fetus and Newborn, American Academy of Pediatrics); James Lemons, Riley Hospital for Children, Indianapolis, Indiana (Committee on Fetus and Newborn, American Academy of Pediatrics); Robert Liston, IWK Grace Health Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia (Maternal-Fetal Medicine Committee, Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada); Catherine McCourt, Laboratory Centre for Disease Control, Health Canada, Ottawa, Ontario (Health Canada); Reg Sauve (Section of Neonatal Perinatal Medicine, Canadian Paediatric Society), Alberta Children’s Hospital, Calgary, Alberta

The recommendations in this Clinical Practice Guideline do not indicate an exclusive course of treatment or procedure to be followed. Variations, taking into account individual circumstances, may be appropriate.

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