Purpose To identify and compare the profile of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) in premature babies in urban and semiurban neonatal intensive care units (NICUs).
Methods A prospective study of babies admitted to NICUs of two urban and seven semiurban centres. They were <36 weeks of gestational age and were subjected to fundus photography with a RetCam shuttle camera. Photos and NICU details were uploaded on a secure website. Photographs were read by a single observer. Infants were followed till retinal vascularisation was complete, or 45 weeks post conceptional age. Babies developing severe ROP were lasered.
Results 500 babies were screened (243, urban group; 257, semiurban group). Incidence of ROP in the urban and semiurban groups was 16.5% (40) and 14.8% (38) respectively. Mean gestational age was 30.90 weeks and 31.53 weeks respectively. Mean birth weight was 1344 g and 1375 g respectively. 28 babies were lasered, 15 and 13 from each group respectively. There was no statistically significant difference between any of the parameters compared. Level of significance was fixed at 0.05.
Conclusions The magnitude of the burden of ROP is comparable between urban and semiurban NICUs stressing the need for effective screening strategies in semiurban and rural areas as well.