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Strategy to help doctors determine when to treat retinopathy of prematurity
Date:4/29/2010

NEW YORK (April 29, 2010) -- Scientists have shown that through eye examinations, doctors can identify infants who are most likely to benefit from early treatment for a potentially blinding eye condition called retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), resulting in better vision for many children.

These long-term results of the Early Treatment for Retinopathy of Prematurity (ETROP) study confirm that the visual benefit of early treatment for selected infants continues through six years of age. The research is published in the April 12 online issue of Archives of Ophthalmology and was supported by the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health. The Edward S. Harkness Eye Institute at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital were among the 26 participating study sites.

"We showed that early treatment for high-risk premature babies can improve their vision. This research promises to transform the way babies with ROP are treated," says Dr. John Flynn, study principal investigator and the Anne S. Cohen Professor of Clinical Pediatric Ophthalmology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and an ophthalmologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital and professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College.

"We showed there isn't a single treatment strategy that works for all infants with ROP, but rather that doctors need to determine whether the baby has a mild or severe form of the disease before proceeding with retinal surgery," adds study co-author Dr. Michael Chiang, associate professor of ophthalmology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and an ophthalmologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. "This can be determined with a simple bedside exam using an ophthalmoscope to look at blood vessels in the retina."

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Contact: Belinda Mager
bem9048@nyp.org
212-305-5587
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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