Severe retinopathy of prematurity in big babies in India: History repeating itself?

  • Parag K. Shah
  • V. Narendran
  • N. Kalpana
  • Clare Gilbert
Original Article



To describe the characteristics of babies with severe retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) attending a tertiary referral eye hospital in South India.


Data on consecutive preterm infants with severe ROP presenting between July 2002 and October 2007 were retrieved from medical records. Severe ROP was defined as high risk prethreshold disease or worse.


144 babies with severe ROP were divided into two groups: group 1 had high risk prethreshold or threshold ROP while group 2 had stages 4 or 5 ROP. The overall mean gestational age was 30.7 weeks (range 25–35 weeks) and the mean birth weight was 1410 g (range 650–2310 g). Most babies had received unmonitored supplemental oxygen (ascertained through discussion with the treating pediatricians).


More bigger and mature babies are developing severe ROP in South India than in industrialized countries. The characteristics of babies affected are similar to those seen during the first epidemic of ROP which occurred during the 1950s in Europe and North America. Guidelines on oxygenation and screening policies should be jointly developed by pediatricians and ophthalmologists to end this epidemic of avoidable blindness in India.

Key words

Retinopathy of prematurity First epidemic Oxygen Childhood blindness 


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Copyright information

© Dr. K C Chaudhuri Foundation 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Parag K. Shah
    • 1
    • 3
  • V. Narendran
    • 1
  • N. Kalpana
    • 1
  • Clare Gilbert
    • 2
  1. 1.Pediatric Retina ServicesAravind Eye Hospital & Postgraduate Institute of OphthalmologyCoimbatoreIndia
  2. 2.London School of Hygiene and Tropical MedicineLondonUK
  3. 3.Department of Pediatric RetinaAravind Eye HospitalCoimbatoreIndia

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