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Smoking During Pregnancy Increases Retinopathy of Prematurity Risk, Study Finds

According to the recent study, it has found that very preterm infants born to mothers who smoked during pregnancy are at increased risk of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP).

Photo: Smoking During Pregnancy | InStyleHealth

What is Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP)?

Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a blinding disease that is caused by abnormal development of retinal blood vessels in premature infants. When a baby is born prematurely, the retinal blood vessels will grow abnormally. Most ROP resolves without causing damage to the retina. However, when ROP is severe, this can cause the retina to pull away or detach from the wall of the eye and will result to blindness. Babies who weigh 1250 grams or less and are born before 31 weeks gestation are at highest risk of developing ROP.

Experts performed a retrospective, case-control analysis of 751 very preterm infants (<32 weeks gestation), in whom ROP was screened through successive dilated eye exams until the retina was fully vascularized. Data regarding risk factors, including maternal smoking, Apgar scores, and medications, were obtained from clinical records.

Based on the study, there was a total of 397 infants were deemed to have ROP, of whom 81 were identified as having a severe condition (stage >3). There are 63 mothers (8.3%) reported smoking during pregnancy, consuming an average of 10 cigarettes per day.

There was a significant difference in the frequency distribution when infants were classified according to their mother’s smoking status during pregnancy. Particularly, stage >3 (22% vs 10%) and stage 2 (24% vs 20%) ROP occurred more frequently in neonates born to smoking mothers.

A multivariate binary logistic regression analysis also confirmed that smoking during pregnancy has a significant correlation of developing severe ROP, heightening its likelihood by more than twice.

Other correlated factors also included total respiratory hour, which had a slight but significant impact per additional hour, and gestational age and birth weight, both of which were protective against severe ROP as they increased. For complete details of the research, please click here.


Source: Eye 2021;35:799-804

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