If infants could be routinely screened with OCT imaging, it might yield better, earlier diagnoses of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), new research suggests. Using a handheld SD-OCT device to scan the vitreous, investigators reported punctate hyperreflective opacities and tractional bands were predictive of ROP and its severity.

The prospective, observational study included 92 premature infants who were born at 28 weeks at a mean weight of 1,014.5±285.0 grams.

The investigation found a strong agreement, at 91%, between both image graders for all vitreoretinal findings. Among the patients, 36 (39%) had ROP and 61 (66%) had punctate hyperreflective vitreous opacities. The latter finding was associated with a diagnosis of ROP (62% vs. 29% without opacities), maximum ROP stage, pre-plus or plus disease (24% vs. 5%) and type one disease (14% vs. 2%).

Also of note: tractional vitreous bands seen on imaging correlated with greater disease severity (29% vs. 5% without bands).

Further studies should explore handheld OCT as a noninvasive ROP screening tool, the study authors concluded.

Legocki AT, Zepeda EM, Gillette TB, et al. Vitreous findings by handheld spectral-domain OCT correlate with retinopathy of prematurity severity. Ophthalmology. 2020;4(10):1008-15.