MAY 06, 2022
The incidence of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) may be linked to socioeconomic factors such as race, ethnicity, and household income.
Researchers conducted a retrospective cohort study of 1234 premature infants (gestational age [GA] of ≤30 weeks, birth weight <1500 g, or GA of >30 weeks with an unstable clinical course) from 4 hospitals in the Los Angeles region who were screened for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) between 2010 and 2020. Medical records and US Census Bureau income data were reviewed to correlate risk factors (race, ethnicity, GA, demographic and clinical information, proxy household income, health insurance status) with diagnosis and severity of ROP.
Twenty-five percent of the neonates were diagnosed with ROP. Younger GA was the main risk factor for ROP severity. Hispanic and Black ethnicity was associated with significantly greater odds of developing ROP and more severe ROP due to overall lower GA. Household incomes of Hispanic and Black neonates were also lower than those of non-Hispanic White neonates ($29,190 and $31,140 lower, respectively).
This was a retrospective study that relied on disclosure of race and ethnicity in the medical records and census bureau data as a proxy for household income.
The risk of developing ROP is associated with GA; however, it is important to identify and understand socioeconomic factors that ultimately influence maternal health and preterm birth.