Retinal detachment in children born prematurely
Sunday, November 17 2013 | 00 h 00 min | News
Children born extremely prematurely are more likely to develop retinal detachment than those born at term, according to a Swedish study.
This is the first long-term study on the link between the two conducted on a large population base. The researchers studied the files of more than three million births in Sweden between 1973 and 2008. They separated the individuals into two groups, based on whether they were born before or after 1986, the year a national retinopathy of prematurity screening program was established.
The results showed a connection between preterm births and this type of eye condition:
- Children born extremely prematurely (less than 28 weeks of gestation) between 1973 and 1986 had a 19-fold higher risk of retinal detachment. That rate fell to nine times higher for those born after 1986.
- Children born very prematurely (28 to 31 weeks of gestation) between 1973 and 1986 had a four-fold increased risk, and that rate fell to three times higher for those born after 1986.
- Moderately preterm birth (32 to 36 weeks of gestation) did not have a significant impact on this type of risk.
“We may just be seeing the tip of the iceberg of late ophthalmic complications after preterm birth. Not only does the risk of retinal detachment increase with age, but there has also been an increase in survival among people born prematurely since the 1970s,” says Swedish pediatrician Anna-Karin Edstedt Bonamy.