Seventy six babies of less than 1500 g birth weight who had surfactant replacement therapy for severe respiratory distress syndrome were studied to assess the presence and stage of subsequent retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). A control group of 90 babies, matched for birth weight and gestational age, who did not have surfactant therapy were also studied. Threshold ROP or greater was found in 1.7% of the surfactant group and 7.8% of the controls. For the babies of less than 1000 g birth weight 4.0% of the surfactant babies and 16.3% of the controls reached threshold disease or greater. It is concluded that surfactant therapy is not associated with an increased incidence or severity of severe ROP in this preterm population.
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