PURPOSE. The purpose of this study was to characterize a novel finding that relative positions of choroidal and retinal vessels change over time in preterm infants and to identify factors associated with this finding using quantitative analysis. METHODS. Fundus images were obtained prospectively through a retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) cohort study. Images were excluded if choroidal vessels could not be identified. Changes in relative position of characteristic choroidal landmarks with respect to retinal vessels between two time points 5 to 7 weeks apart were measured. Univariate and multivariate regression analyses were performed to identify associated factors with the amount of change. RESULTS. The discovery and replication cohorts included 45 and 58 patients, respectively. Ninety-two of them (89%) were non-Hispanic Caucasians. Changes in relative position of choroidal versus retinal vessels were detected in all eyes of the discovery and replication cohorts (mean amount = 0.42 ± 0.12 and 0.35 ±.12 mm, respectively). On combined multiple regression analysis of the two cohorts, type 1 ROP, higher postmenstral age at the first time point, and shorter distance from optic disc to choroidal landmark were significantly associated with less change in relative position. CONCLUSIONS. Choroidal vessels grow anteriorly with respect to retinal vessels at posterior pole in preterm infants, suggesting relatively faster peripheral growth of choroidal versus retinal vessels. Eyes with severe ROP showed less difference in growth, which might represent alterations in choroidal development due to advanced ROP. These findings may contribute to better understanding about the physiology of choroidal development and involvement in ROP.
- Premature infant
- Retinopathy of prematurity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience