June 2022
Volume 63, Issue 7
Open Access
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   June 2022
Trends in retinopathy of prematurity training and future practice intentions among retina and pediatric ophthalmology fellows
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Emily Eton
    W K Kellogg Eye Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
  • Benjamin Young
    W K Kellogg Eye Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
  • Cagri G Besirli
    W K Kellogg Eye Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   Emily Eton None; Benjamin Young None; Cagri Besirli None
  • Footnotes
    Support  None
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science June 2022, Vol.63, 4173 – F0233. doi:
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      Emily Eton, Benjamin Young, Cagri G Besirli; Trends in retinopathy of prematurity training and future practice intentions among retina and pediatric ophthalmology fellows. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2022;63(7):4173 – F0233.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Purpose : Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a leading cause of blindness among preterm and low-birthweight infants. Improved survival of very preterm and very low birth weight babies has led to increased numbers of patients requiring ROP care; however, studies demonstrate a ROP provider shortage. We sought to better understand the future ROP workforce by identifying trends in ROP training and practice interest among pediatric ophthalmology and retina fellows.

Methods : Lists of vitreoretinal surgery, medical retina, and pediatric ophthalmology fellowship programs participating in the SF Match with Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology compliance as of August 2021 were obtained. Surveys were emailed to fellowship program directors and administrators to be distributed to current fellows and those who graduated in the last year. Survey data were collected and analyzed using Qualtrics software.

Results : Of the 56 respondents, 55.4% were male. Vitreoretinal surgery fellows made up the largest cohort (n=30; 53.6%) with 20 (35.7%) pediatric ophthalmology and 6 (10.7%) medical retina fellows responding. A majority of fellows trained at an academic teaching hospital (n=49; 89.1%). Forty-eight (85.7%) respondents received ROP training, of which 22.0% did screening examinations, 25.0% completed follow-up examinations, 23.2% performed laser therapy, 19.6% administered anti-VEGF injections, and 10.1% performed incisional surgery. Six fellows received ROP telemedicine training. Just under half of respondents (n=26; 46.4%) indicated plans to provide ROP care in the future. Of these, most plan to do screening (n=24; 92.3%) or follow-up (n=22; 84.6%) exams, laser treatment (n=21; 80.8%), or anti-VEGF injections (n=21; 80.8%). Four individuals indicated intention to perform incisional surgery for ROP and 5 plan to do telemedicine screening examinations. Among the 53.6% who did not plan to care for ROP patients or were unsure, the most common reasons cited were lack of interest in the disease process, liability concerns, or time-consuming nature of ROP care.

Conclusions : Despite widespread ROP training in fellowship, a minority of surveyed trainees plan to provide ROP care in future practice. Increasing fellowship telehealth training may expand future ROP telemedicine use and help overcome workforce shortages.

This abstract was presented at the 2022 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Denver, CO, May 1-4, 2022, and virtually.

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