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Pain in neonates during screening for retinopathy of prematurity using binocular indirect ophthalmoscopy and wide-fi eld digital retinal imaging: a randomised comparison
  1. C A Dhaliwal1,
  2. E Wright2,
  3. N McIntosh3,
  4. K Dhaliwal4,
  5. B W Fleck5
  1. 1Queens Medical Research Institute, Edinburgh, UK
  2. 2Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion, Edinburgh, UK
  3. 3Department of Child Life and Health, Edinburgh, UK
  4. 4University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  5. 5The Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Catharine Dhaliwal, Room W1.12, Centre for Reproductive Biology, Queens Medical Research Institute, 47 Little France Crescent, Edinburgh EH16 4TJ, UK; cdhaliwa{at}


Objective To compare the pain experienced by premature infants undergoing wide-field digital retinal imaging (WFDRI) and binocular indirect ophthalmoscopy (BIO) for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) screening.

Methods Infants were recruited at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary Neonatal Unit, Edinburgh, UK. Eyes were examined by WFDRI and BIO with eyelid speculum by two experienced paediatric ophthalmologists in random order. A pain score (Premature Infant Pain Profile (PIPP)) for WFDRI and BIO was generated.

Results A total of 76 infants were recruited. The (mean, SD) PIPP score for WFDRI was 15.0, 2.1 and for BIO was 15.2, 2.4 (paired t test p=0.47). The authors observed that infants started crying with corresponding physiological changes as soon as the eyelid speculum was inserted and crying stopped on speculum removal.

Conclusion WFDRI and BIO with eyelid speculum are similarly painful for infants. The authors speculate that the eyelid speculum rather than the examination method may contribute most to the pain experienced.

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Lothian Research Ethics Committee Ref LREC/2004/6/4.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.