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Is ethnicity a risk factor for severe retinopathy of prematurity?
  1. Anil KV Aralikatti1,
  2. Arijit Mitra1,
  3. Alastair K O Denniston1,
  4. M Sayeed Haque2,
  5. Andrew K Ewer2,3,
  6. Lucilla Butler1
  1. 1Birmingham and Midland Eye Centre, City Hospital, Dudley Road, Birmingham, West Midlands, UK
  2. 2The University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK
  3. 3Birmingham Women's Hospital, Metchley Park Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Anil K V Aralikatti, Birmingham and Midland Eye Centre, City Hospital, Dudley Road, Birmingham, West Midlands B18 7QH, UK; dr_aralikatti{at}


Objective To assess the risk of severe retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) requiring treatment in different ethnic groups.

Design Retrospective observational study on ROP screening and treatment. It involved a cross-sectional review of all eligible infants over a seven-year period. Statistical tests used were the Kruskal-Wallis test and Mann-Whitney U test. Logistic regression was used to control for any differences in birth weight and gestational age.

Setting City Hospital and Birmingham Women's Hospital, Birmingham, UK.

Results 1690 preterm infants underwent ROP screening. Birth weight was lower in black (1142.5 g) and Asian infants (1180 g) when compared to white infants (1196.5 g). Gestational age was lower in black infants (28.5 weeks) compared to Asian and white infants (both 29 weeks). Compared to white infants, the odds of severe ROP requiring treatment was higher in Asian infants (odds ratio (OR): 2.52; 95% CI 1.41 to 4.50) and black infants (OR: 2.51; 95% CI 1.30 to 4.86). The additional risk from ethnicity was present even after adjusting for birth weight and gestational age (adjusted OR for Asian vs white infants: 2.45; 95% CI 1.334 to 4.497); (adjusted OR for black vs white infants: 2.0; 95% CI 1.004 to 4.014).

Conclusions Ethnicity is a risk factor for severe ROP. Asian and black infants have a higher risk of developing threshold ROP compared to white infants.

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  • Competing interests None.

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