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Retinopathy of prematurity: The need for prevention

Journal article
Authors R. Liegl
Ann Hellström
L. E. H. Smith
Published in Eye and Brain
Volume 8
Pages 91-102
ISSN 1179-2744
Publication year 2016
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Pages 91-102
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.2147/EB.S99038
Keywords IGF-1, Insulin growth factor 1, ROP
Subject categories Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology, Ophthalmology, Pediatrics

Abstract

More than 450,000 babies are born prematurely in the USA every year. The improved survival of even the most vulnerable low body weight preterm infants has, despite improving health outcomes, led to the resurgence in preterm complications including one of the major causes for blindness in children, retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). The current mainstay in ROP therapy is laser photocoagulation and the injection of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) antibodies in the late stages of the disease after the onset of neovascularization. Both are proven options for ophthalmologists to treat the severe forms of late ROP. However, laser photocoagulation destroys major parts of the retina, and the injection of VEGF antibodies, although rather simple to administer, may cause a systemic suppression of normal vascularization, which has not been studied in sufficient depth. However, the use of neither VEGF antibody nor laser treatment prevents ROP, which should be the long-term goal. It should be possible to prevent ROP by more closely mimicking the intrauterine environment after preterm birth. Such preventive measures include preventing the toxic postbirth influences (eg, oxygen excess) as well as providing the missing intrauterine factors (eg, insulin growth factor 1) and are likely to also reduce other complications of premature birth as well as ROP. This review is meant to summarize the current knowledge on the prevention of ROP with a particular emphasize on the use of insulin growth factor 1 supplementation. © 2016 Liegl et al.

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