Over a period of 20 months six preterm infants have been seen who developed severe acute retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) and who also had ultrasound evidence of extensive cerebral parenchymal changes compatible with severe periventricular leucomalacia. Only one of these infants had a birthweight of less than 1000 g, and their gestational ages ranged from 27 to 30 weeks. The association between these two important complications of preterm birth has led us to postulate that an episode of hypoperfusion of the cerebral circulation sufficient to result in cerebral ischaemia could also reduce an already compromised ocular blood flow and further exacerbate retinal ischaemia, thereby increasing the severity of ROP.
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