Purpose. Cryotherapy for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is effective in reducing the incidence of blindness in premature infants. However, macular complications associated with successful treatment have not yet been well studied.
Methods. Eighteen very low birth weight (<1251 g) infants (32 eyes) who received cryotherapy for ROP were examined serially for regression of disease and for development of macular abnormalities. Patient characteristics and treatment factors were evaluated to identify risk factors associated with the development of macular abnormalities after successful cryotherapy.
Results. Eleven of 32 eyes (34.4%) that had undergone cryotherapy developed significant macular abnormalities, including macular coloboma-like change (six eyes), macular hyperpigmentation (two eyes), irregularly mottled macular hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation (two eyes), and macular hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation with subretinal proliferation (one eye). Corrected visual acuity in affected eyes ranged from 0.15 to 0.03 (20/133 to 20/666) compared with 1.0 to 0.2 (20/20 to 20/100) in treated eyes without macular abnormality (P = .0002). No difference in gestational age was noted between infants who did or did not develop macular coloboma-like lesions or pigment abnormalities. Eyes with macular abnormality had more posterior disease (P = .037) and received significantly more cryotherapy than did eyes without macular abnormality (P = .0005).
Conclusions. In very low birth weight infants receiving cryotherapy for ROP, development of macular coloboma-like lesions and macular pigment abnormalities were related to greater severity of ROP and a greater amount of cryotherapy. Macular abnormalities were associated with markedly worse visual outcomes than were treated eyes without macular abnormality.