Preterm babies are at risk for delayed
retinal maturation including retinopathy of prematurity.
This study intends to analyse the prevalence of delay in
retinal maturation among preterm infants, in a tertiary
care institution in north Kerala. The factors affecting
retinal maturation are evaluated.
Methodology: Design- descriptive cross sectional;
duration 6 months; inclusion - preterm infants with
birth weight less than or equal to 1.5 kg and gestational
age less than or equal to 32 weeks; sample size - 76;
variables-maternal risk factors, age at birth, gender,
birth weight, weight at 38 weeks and fetal risk factors.
Results: Male female ratio was 2.1:1.7, 51.3% had
adequate retinal maturation, 23.7% had delayed retinal
maturation and 25% had progressed to ROP. The mean
birth weight was 1.22 kg (SD 0.223). The mean
gestational age was 30.29days.The mean weight at 38
weeks was 1.801 kg. Maternal factors did not affect the
outcome. Delay in retinal maturation and ROP were
associated with lower gestational age (p 0.01),
birthweight (p 0.09), male gender(p 0.04), mechanical
ventilation (p 0.016), surfactant use ( p 0.003), anemia of
prematurity (p 0.09), blood transfusion (p 0.016), sepsis
(p 0.091) and NEC ( p0.026). Use of antenatal steroids (p
0.09), adequate gain in weight ( p 0.113) and
breastfeeding soon after birth( p 0.027) had a positive
association with maturation.
Conclusion: Gestational age at birth, birth weight , male
gender , hypoxia & need for assistive devices, nutritional
factors, hemodynamic factors, CHD, PDA, use of
surfactants , sepsis and NEC were associated with poor
retinal maturation. Use of antenatal steroids, adequate
gain in weight and breastfeeding soon after birth were
Keywords : retinopathy of prematurity, delayed retinal maturation, preterm, fetal hypoxia, early breast feeding.