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Clinical Sciences
April 2001

The Rod Photoreceptors in Retinopathy of Prematurity: An Electroretinographic Study

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Ophthalmology, Children's Hospital at Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass. None of the authors has a commercial or proprietary interest in any of the products mentioned in this article.

Arch Ophthalmol. 2001;119(4):499-505. doi:10.1001/archopht.119.4.499

Objective  To test the hypothesis that the more severe the acute phase retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) was in the preterm weeks, the more severely compromised is rod photoreceptor function after the ROP has resolved.

Methods  Electroretinographic (ERG) responses were recorded from 25 dark-adapted children (ages 2.5 months' postterm to 14 years) categorized by maximum, acute phase ROP (None to Very Severe). From the ERG a-wave "S," a sensitivity parameter for the rod photoreceptor response, and Rmp3, the saturated amplitude of the rod photoreceptor response were calculated using a model of the activation of rod phototransduction. The patients' results were compared with those of healthy controls (n = 71).

Results  Among those in the None, Mild, Moderate, and Severe categories, both S and Rmp3 varied significantly with severity of acute phase ROP. In the Very Severe category, ERG responses were too attenuated to calculate S and Rmp3.

Conclusions  The rod photoreceptors must be involved in ROP. The more severe the acute phase ROP, the more severe is the compromise of the processes involved in the activation of phototransduction in the rods.