Objective To compare Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study visual acuity outcome with retinal structural outcome at the 6-year follow-up examination of infants randomized in the Early Treatment for Retinopathy of Prematurity study.
Methods We compared the results in 606 eyes of subjects in whom both functional (visual acuity) and retinal structural assessments were obtained at age 6 years. Visual acuity assessments were performed by masked testers, and retinal examinations were performed by certified ophthalmologists.
Main Outcome Measures Visual acuity and retinal structure at age 6 years.
Results Concordant outcomes occurred in 462 eyes (76.2%): 402 eyes had favorable functional and structural outcomes and 60 eyes had unfavorable functional and structural outcomes. Discordant outcomes occurred in 92 eyes (15.2%): 86 eyes had unfavorable functional and favorable structural outcomes and 6 eyes had favorable functional and unfavorable structural outcomes. Of the 86 eyes with unfavorable functional and favorable structural outcomes, 43 had optic atrophy (23 eyes) and/or retinal abnormalities that were less severe than those considered to be unfavorable (32 eyes). In 52 eyes (8.6%), retinal structure could not be assessed or the visual acuity was untestable.
Conclusion Posterior pole appearance correlates well with visual acuity in 6-year-old infants with a history of advanced retinopathy of prematurity.
Application to Clinical Practice When the retinal structure is normal but visual acuity is poor in infants with a history of severe retinopathy of prematurity, other diagnoses such as optic atrophy and cortical visual impairment could at least partially account for the discrepancy.
Trial Registration clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00027222