[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
February 1971

The Continuing Role of the Ophthalmologist in the Premature Nursery

Arch Ophthalmol. 1971;85(2):129-130. doi:10.1001/archopht.1971.00990050131001

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


RETROLENTAL fibroplasia (RLF), the retinopathy of prematurity, first identified by Terry1 in 1942, soon became one of the largest causes of child blindness. The identification of oxygen overuse as its cause in the early 1950s led to a general curtailment of oxygen therapy, and the disease virtually disappeared. During the early and mid 1960s, several reports appeared which documented the severe oxygen deprivation and the need for high concentrations of oxygen for infants with the respiratory distress syndrome. As a result, the pendulum which swung in the 1950s toward a rigid restriction in oxygen therapy for the premature infant began to swing back in the 1960s toward more liberal use of oxygen.

In early 1967 I examined a significant number of new patients with RLF from several premature centers. Recalling our earlier nursery study2 and the kitten studies of Ashton and Cook,3 in which the majority of

Terry TL:  Extreme prematurity and fibroblastic overgrowth of persistent vascular sheath behind each crystalline lens: I. Preliminary report . Amer J Ophthal 25:203-204, 1942.
Patz A, Hoeck LE, De La Cruz E:  Studies on the effect of high oxygen administration in retrolental fibroplasia: I. Nursery observations . Amer J Ophthal 35:1248-1253, 1952.
Ashton N, Cook C:  Direct observation of the effect of oxygen on developing vessels: Preliminary report . Brit J Ophthal 38:433-440, 1954.Article
Patz A:  New role of the ophthalmologist in prevention of retrolental fibroplasia . Arch Ophthal 78:565-568, 1967.Article
O'Grady GG, Flynn JT, Cantolino S: Ophthalmoscopic monitoring of the retinal vasculature in prematurity. Read before the Section on Ophthalmology at the 119th annual convention of the American Medical Association, Chicago, 1970.
Baum JD, Bulpitt CJ:  Retinal vasoconstriction in premature infants with increased arterial oxygen tensions . Arch Dis Child 45:350-353, 1970.Article
McCormick AQ:  Transient cataracts in premature infants . Trans Canad Ophthal Soc 27:202-206, 1968.
Nagata M:  Therapeutic possibilities in retrolental fibroplasia in prematures with light coagulation . M Ophthal 719:655-661, 1968.