Background and Aims Examination for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is one of the most painful procedures performed in neonatal intensive care units (NICU). In order to avoid severe visual impairment all infants below 1500 g and 32th gestational age should be screened. The aim of this study is to identify the systemic effects and complications of mydriatic eye drops and the physical manipulation of the globe.
Methods The study sample included all preterm infants who were screened for ROP weighing up to 1500 g at birth and hospitalized in Adnan Menderes University NICU from January 2011 through December 2011. Hospital records were reviewed. Vital signs, apnea and seizure events, need for respiratory support, infection rates, amount of feedings, gastric residuals were investigated. Descriptive statistics and one way Anova test were applied.
Results Seventy ROP examinations in 34 infants were included. Mean birth weight was 1157± 256(700–1945) g, mean gestational age was 28± 1.6(25–32) weeks. Median duration of mechanical support was 15.1± 12(0–50) days. Mean heart rate, respiratory rate and oxygen saturation were similar 24 hours before and after examination. There were no significant differences in apnea event and seizures. Gastric distention was seen in three babies, suspected necrotising enterocolitis in one infant.
Conclusions There were no demostrable systemic effects associated with ROP examination although infants seemed to be somewhat tired. Low incidence of severe systemic side effects may be associated with fingertip pressure on lacrimal duct and reducing the amount of feedings just before and after the examination.