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Ye He, Moritz Pettenkofer, Alison Chu, Srinivas R. Sadda, Giulia Corradetti, Irena Tsui; Characterization of Foveal Development in Treatment-Naïve Extremely Preterm Infants. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2022;11(6):11. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.11.6.11.
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To characterize and quantify foveal development in treatment-naïve extremely preterm infants using optical coherence tomography.
In this cross-sectional study, eyes treated for retinopathy of prematurity before imaging were excluded. Inner retinal thickness and outer retina thickness at foveal center and foveal rim were assessed. Extremely preterm (EPT, <28 weeks gestational age) eyes were compared with infants more than 28 weeks of gestation using a multivariable dimension reduction analysis (principal component analysis) and a bilinear factor mode analysis (partial least square discriminant analysis) to determine group intervariability. Further analyses were performed to investigate the effects of gestation on foveal development.
Twenty-six infants born at gestational ages ranging from 22 to 39 weeks were imaged between 32 and 80 weeks postmenstrual age. A principal component analysis and partial least squares discriminant analysis revealed that the foveal inner retina thickness was the main difference between EPT infants and non-EPT infants. This difference was reflected by comparing their inner retinal thickness over time (32–80 weeks postmenstrual age), which revealed a sustained thicker foveal inner retina for EPT infants when compared with non-EPT infants. The foveal pit seemed to be shallower in EPT infants when compared with non-EPT infants.
Twenty-eight weeks of gestation seems to be a critical timepoint for foveal development; EPT infants had altered foveal inner retinal development throughout early postnatal development, which led to a thicker foveal inner retina and a shallower foveal pit soon after birth.
Measuring untreated foveal parameters informs about the effects of prematurity on the fovea and provides a baseline when comparing with post-treatment foveal development.
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