Birth Weight Is a Significant Predictor of Retinal Nerve Fiber Layer Thickness at 36 Weeks Postmenstrual Age in Preterm Infants.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

PURPOSE: To assess retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness in preterm infants. DESIGN: Prospective observational study. METHODS: We imaged 83 awake infants (159 eyes) at 36 ± 1 weeks postmenstrual age (defined as the time elapsed between the first day of the last maternal menstrual period and the time at imaging) using a handheld optical coherence tomography (OCT) system at the bedside. Blinded graders semi-automatically segmented RNFL in the papillomacular bundle (-15 to +15° relative to the fovea-optic nerve axis). We correlated RNFL thickness and 7 characteristics of interest (sex, race, ethnicity, gestational age, birth weight, stage of retinopathy at prematurity, and presence of pre-plus or plus disease) via univariable and multivariable regressions. RESULTS: RNFL was 3.4 μm thicker in the right eyes than in the left eyes (P < .001). Among 7 characteristics, birth weight was the only independent predictor of RNFL thickness (P < .001). A 250-g increase in birth weight was associated with 5.2 μm (95% confidence interval: 3.3-7.0) increase in RNFL thickness. Compared with very preterm infants, extremely preterm infants had thinner RNFL (58.0 ± 10.7 μm vs 63.4 ± 10.7 μm, P = .03), but the statistical significance disappeared after adjustment for birth weight (P = .25). RNFL thickness was 11.2 μm thinner in extremely low birth weight infants than in very low birth weight infants (55.5 ± 8.3 μm vs. 66.7 ± 10.2 μm; P < .001). The difference remained statistically significant after adjustment for gestational age. CONCLUSION: Birth weight is a significant independent predictor of RNFL thickness near birth, implying that the retinal ganglion cells reserve is affected by intrauterine processes that affect birth weight.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Shen, LL; Mangalesh, S; McGeehan, B; Tai, V; Sarin, N; El-Dairi, MA; Freedman, SF; Maguire, MG; Toth, CA; BabySTEPS Group,

Published Date

  • February 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 222 /

Start / End Page

  • 41 - 53

PubMed ID

  • 32891695

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC7930155

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1879-1891

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.ajo.2020.08.043


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States