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Original Investigation
Clinical Sciences
October 2013

Visual Outcomes After Early Vitreous Surgery for Aggressive Posterior Retinopathy of Prematurity

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Ophthalmology and Laboratory of Cell Biology, National Center for Child Health and Development, Tokyo, Japan
JAMA Ophthalmol. 2013;131(10):1309-1313. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2013.4148

Importance  Aggressive posterior retinopathy of prematurity (AP-ROP) rapidly progresses to retinal detachment despite application of photocoagulation. Early vitreous surgery might achieve prompt regression of neovascular activity and a high incidence of retinal reattachment.

Objective  To evaluate visual outcomes in eyes with AP-ROP after early vitreous surgery.

Design  Retrospective nonrandomized study of patients who underwent early vitreous surgery with lensectomy when retinal detachment developed despite photocoagulation. Aphakic correction with spectacles or contact lenses and the use of orthoptics were continued postoperatively. The best-corrected visual acuity (VA) was measured in eyes with a total retinal reattachment using the preferential looking technique in patients ranging in age from 8 months to no more than 3 years and a VA chart with Landolt rings or pictures for older children. The VA findings were converted to Snellen lines.

Setting  Institutional ophthalmology practice.

Participants  Of the 103 eyes (57 patients) that underwent early vitreous surgery for AP-ROP, the VA was measured in 58 (32 patients) at a corrected age ranging from 8 months to 4 years.

Interventions  Early vitreous surgery and VA measurement using the preferential looking technique and a VA chart.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Postoperative VA, ROP stage, extent of fibrovascular tissue (FT) growth, and laterality of the eyes that underwent surgery.

Results  The VAs ranged from 20/2000 to 20/40. The VA may not be related to the preoperative ROP stage 4A or 4B but may depend on the preoperative extent of FT growth. In 39 of 58 eyes (67.2%), the FT had not reached the vitreous base preoperatively, and foveal formation occurred postoperatively with nearly age-appropriate VA (range, 20/250 to 20/40). In 17 of 58 eyes (29.3%), the FT had reached the vitreous base, and no fovea formed (VA range, 20/2000 to 20/250). Two of 58 eyes (3.4%) had deprivation amblyopia with a VA worse than 20/1600. The difference in VA between both eyes of patients who underwent bilateral vitreous surgery depended on ROP progression; patients who underwent a unilateral procedure in which the fellow eyes with ROP stabilized after photocoagulation tended to have poor vision because of deprivation amblyopia.

Conclusions and Relevance  Early vitreous surgery may be beneficial for AP-ROP and should be performed before the FT reaches the vitreous base to facilitate foveal formation and good VA outcomes. The roles of photocoagulation, vitreous surgery, and anti–vascular endothelial growth factor therapy in the treatment of AP-ROP should be investigated in randomized trials regarding efficacy, safety, convenience, and cost.