[Skip to Navigation]
Brief Report
November 27, 2019

Differentiating Retinal Detachment and Retinoschisis Using Handheld Optical Coherence Tomography in Stage 4 Retinopathy of Prematurity

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
JAMA Ophthalmol. 2020;138(1):81-85. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2019.4796
Key Points

Question  Is the retinal elevation observed in eyes with stage 4 retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) retinal detachment or retinoschisis on imaging with optical coherence tomography (OCT)?

Findings  In this study of 21 eyes from 15 preterm infants, more than 50% of eyes with stage 4A ROP diagnosed using indirect ophthalmoscopy exhibited retinoschisis without evidence of retinal detachment using OCT. Optical coherence tomography aided in determination of foveal involvement to distinguish stage 4A ROP from stage 4B ROP.

Meaning  Handheld OCT was useful to assess foveal involvement and differentiating retinal detachment and retinoschisis in stage 4 ROP, and use of preoperative OCT may elucidate whether retinoschisis without retinal detachment portends different prognoses.


Importance  Progression of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) to stage 4 may require surgical intervention. The partial retinal detachment of stage 4 ROP may involve the fovea (stage 4B ROP) or may not (stage 4A ROP). This determination has heretofore been based on indirect ophthalmoscopy and documented with color fundus photography.

Objective  To investigate optical coherence tomography (OCT) features of eyes with stage 4 ROP and compare them with indirect ophthalmoscopy findings and grading of photographs.

Design, Setting, and Participants  In this study, research and clinical medical records of 15 infants with clinically diagnosed stage 4 ROP were retrospectively reviewed. Infants were treated at an academic center from May 2011 to January 2018.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Review of OCT images for the presence and foveal involvement of retinoschisis, retinal detachment, and/or vitreomacular traction masked to indirect ophthalmoscopy findings.

Results  Of the 15 included infants, 9 (60%) were male, the mean (SD) gestational age at birth was 23.9 (1.1) weeks, and the mean (SD) postmenstrual age at surgery was 42.4 (4.9) weeks. A total of 21 eyes were analyzed, of which 19 had adequate OCT imaging. Optical coherence tomography imaging extended to the retinal midperiphery but did not cover the entire region of possible detachment in each eye. Among these eyes, 7 eyes had peripheral retinoschisis without retinal detachment or foveal involvement, 5 eyes had peripheral retinoschisis and retinal detachment without foveal involvement, 7 eyes had either retinoschisis or retinal detachment involving the fovea, and 2 eyes had poor OCT signal owing to high retinal detachment.

Conclusions and Relevance  Handheld OCT imaging is useful in clinical evaluation of stage 4 ROP to determine foveal involvement and differentiate retinal detachment and retinoschisis. Many infants diagnosed as having stage 4A ROP had retinoschisis without OCT evidence of retinal detachment. This group of infants may represent a substage of stage 4A ROP, ie, stage 4A–schisis by OCT. These findings suggest handheld OCT imaging may be useful in the clinical evaluation of stage 4 ROP. Further investigations are needed to determine if this subgroup portends a different prognosis and if this observation should alter future clinical practice.

Add or change institution
Limit 200 characters
Limit 25 characters
Conflicts of Interest Disclosure

Identify all potential conflicts of interest that might be relevant to your comment.

Conflicts of interest comprise financial interests, activities, and relationships within the past 3 years including but not limited to employment, affiliation, grants or funding, consultancies, honoraria or payment, speaker's bureaus, stock ownership or options, expert testimony, royalties, donation of medical equipment, or patents planned, pending, or issued.

Err on the side of full disclosure.

If you have no conflicts of interest, check "No potential conflicts of interest" in the box below. The information will be posted with your response.

Not all submitted comments are published. Please see our commenting policy for details.

Limit 140 characters
Limit 3600 characters or approximately 600 words