Purpose: To focus on the longitudinal evaluation of high-risk infants for the development of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) at a single tertiary neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), and to evaluate evolving demographics of ROP and the transition of treatment-warranted disease. Design: Retrospective cohort study. Methods: A consecutive retrospective review was performed of all infants screened for ROP between 1990 and 2019 at the Jackson Memorial Hospital neonatal intensive care unit. All inborn infants meeting a birth criteria of <32 weeks’ gestational age (GA) or a birthweight (BW) of 1500 g were included. Longitudinal demographic, diagnostic, and treatment data were reported. Results: Between January 1, 1990, and June 20, 2019, a total of 25,567 examinations were performed and 7436 patients were included. Longitudinal trends over 3 decades demonstrated a decreasing incidence of ROP (P < .05). Although the mean BW and GA increased over 3 decades, patients with ROP demonstrated lower BW and GA over time (P < .05). The prevalence of micro-premature infants (as defined by BW <750 g) continues to rise over time. Micro-preemies demonstrated increasing severity of zone and stage grading, plus disease, and propensity to require treatment (P < .05). The rate of progression of ROP to stage 4 and 5 disease has decreased over time, and there has been an associated increased adoption of intravitreal bevacizumab as primary and salvage therapy. Conclusions: Understanding the evolution of ROP infants and treatment over time is critical in identifying high-risk infants and in reducing the incidence of severe-stage ROP. Micro-prematurity is one of the significant risk factors for treatment-warranted ROP that continues to increase as neonatal care improves.
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