Objective To document the findings of a newborn eye examination programme for detecting ocular pathology in the healthy full-term newborn. Methods This is a cross-sectional study of the majority of newborns born in the Kunming Maternal and Child Healthcare Hospital, China, between May 2010 and June 2011. Infants underwent ocular examination within 42 days after birth using a flashlight, retinoscope, handheld slit lamp microscope and wide-angle digital retinal image acquisition system. The retinal fundus examination utilised the RetCam wide-field digital imaging system (Clarity Medical Systems, Pleasanton, California, USA). The external eye, pupillary light reflex, red reflex, opacity of refractive media, anterior chamber and posterior segments were also examined. Results A total of 3573 healthy full-term newborns were enrolled and examined in the programme. There was detection of 871 abnormal cases (24.4%). The majority of abnormal exams were 769 (21.52%) retinal haemorrhages. Of these, there were 215 cases of significant retinal haemorrhage, possible sight threatening or amblyogenic, representing 6.02% of the total. In addition, 67 cases (1.88%) involved macular haemorrhage. The other 107 cases (2.99%) with abnormal ocular findings included subconjunctival haemorrhage, congenital microphthalmos, congenital corneal leukoma, posterior synechia, persistent pupillary membrane, congenital cataract, enlarged C/D ratio, retinal hamartoma versus retinoblastoma, optic nerve defects, macular pigment disorder and non-specific peripheral retinopathy. Conclusion Ocular examination of healthy newborns leads to the detection of a significant number of ocular pathologies. The most commonly discovered ocular abnormality during examination of the newborns in this study is retinal haemorrhage. The long-term impact of these findings is unknown. Although presumed by some to benign, neonatal retinal haemorrhages due to birth trauma could be involved in altering visual development. Further work, including prospective examination of newborns with long-term follow-up, is needed and supported by our findings.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience