Background and objectives: Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is the leading avoidable and treatable cause of childhood blindness in the United States. The objective of this study was to evaluate trends of ROP screening, incidence, and treatment in US NICUs over the last 11 years.
Methods: Using standardized data submitted by NICUs from US Vermont Oxford Network member hospitals from 2008 to 2018 on very low birth weight infants hospitalized at the recommended age for ROP screening, we assessed trends in the proportion of eligible infants who received ROP screening, incidence, and treatment of ROP using logistic regression models.
Results: This study included 381 065 very low birth weight infants at 819 US NICUs participating in Vermont Oxford Network. Over time, more eligible infants received ROP screening (89% in 2008 to 91% in 2018, trend P < .001). Among those screened, overall ROP (stages 1-5, 37% in 2008 to 32% in 2018), severe ROP (stages 3-5, 8% in 2008 to 6% in 2018), and retinal ablation (6% in 2008 to 2% in 2018) declined and anti-vascular endothelial growth factor injections (1% in 2012 to 2% in 2018) increased (all trend P < .001).
Conclusions: Among US hospitals from 2008 to 2018, the proportion of ROP screening among infants hospitalized at the recommended age increased, less overall and severe ROP were reported, less retinal ablation was performed, and more anti-vascular endothelial growth factor treatment was used. Despite increased ROP screening over time, 10% of infants were not screened, representing an opportunity for improvement in health care delivery.