In the United States there are about 4 million births annually,1 of which about 10% are premature. The percentage of premature births has increased over the last decade2 and every year there are >20 000 infants whose birth weight is 1250 g or under who survive beyond 28 days of life.3 An additional 32 000 surviving infants weigh between 1251 and 1500 g at birth. Both birth weight strata contain, by all that we know about the disease, infants at the highest risk for the development of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). If infants of these birth weights are to be examined by ophthalmologists competent to perform indirect ophthalmoscopy on these tiny prematures, an average of 6 times during the period of highest susceptibility for the development of threshold ROP4 disease—32 to 40 weeks postconceptional age5,6—then we are talking about ±300 000 such examinations per year in the neonatal intensive care units across this country.
- Received August 31, 1994.
- Accepted August 31, 1994.
- Copyright © 1995 by the American Academy of Pediatrics