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Emanuele Tonti, Domenico Lepore, Antonio Baldascino, Lorenzo Orazi, Salvatore Luceri, Fernando Molle, Catholic University of Sacred Heart - Ophthalmology; Effect of sunlight exposure during pregnancy on Retinopathy of Prematurity. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(13):5918.
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to evaluate the influence of sunlight exposure during pregnancy on retinopathy of prematurity (ROP).
from January 1995 to June 2013, 1304 children with a mean birth weight of 1210 grams (range 350-3560 ) and mean gestational age of 30 weeks (range 23-35 weeks) screened for ROP at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of Catholic University of Sacred Hearth Hospital. Preterm infants with a birth weight (BW) < 1,500 grams and/or gestational age (GA) <32 weeks were screened. Data of ROP onset, maximum stage and zone reached and structural outcome at nine month were recorded in a database. In order to evaluate the influence of light exposure during the latter stages of pregnancy on the development of ROP, we divided the whole premature population into two groups: A) born in the period from December to May with a presumable lower sunlight exposure. B) born in the period from June to November with a presumable higher light exposure. Differences on ROP incidence and severity between the two groups were evaluate using ANOVA test.
In the whole population 851 infants (65%) did not develop ROP. Of the remaining 453 (35%) premature, 350 (77%) developed ROP stages of non-surgical, while for 103 (23%) was needed treatment. 654 (50.2%) infants (group A) were born from December to May, while 650 (49.8%; group B) from June to November. In group A (less light exposure) the incidence of ROP was significantly higher of group B (more light exposure) (39% vs 31%; p = 0.003). This observation is more evident among the extremely premature babies (23 and 24 weeks GA): in the group A all babies have any stage of ROP, while in the group B 18% did not have ROP. In the latter a lower prevalence of severe ROP requiring treatment is shown (p=0.035).
ROP seems to be rarer and milder and in premature whose intrauterine life coincided with a presumable higher sunshine exposure. This report confirm the protective effect of sunlight exposure on retinal development.
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