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Indian J Ophthalmol. 2019 Jun;67(6):816-818. doi: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_709_18.

Changing patterns of early childhood blinding conditions presenting to a tertiary eye center: The epidemic of retinopathy of prematurity in India.

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Smt Kanuri Santhamma Center for Vitreo-Retina Diseases, L V Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, Telangana, India.



Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is now emerging as one of the major causes of preventable childhood blindness. The proportion of preterm babies has increased dramatically over the past decade. Our study aims to emphasize the need for ROP screening and management services in these preterm infants.


ICD-coded medical records of children less than 10 years of age presenting to a subspecialty eye hospital from 2000 to 2017 were reviewed. ROP, congenital cataract, congenital glaucoma, and vitamin A deficiency were the most common diagnoses. We evaluated the trend of these diseases from 2000 to 2017.


Our data suggested a 20-fold increase in the attendance of children with a diagnosis of ROP who now make over 2% of outpatient children. Vitamin A deficiency has declined over time whereas cataract and glaucoma have remained stable.


Our data indicate a need to scale up ROP screening integrated with neonatal care, as well as to build capacity for the treatment of acute and late-stage ROP in India.


Epidemiology; India; retinopathy of prematurity

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