Comprehensive Ocular Examination of Healthy Newborns in the Middle East
Ali, Syed M. A.
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Purpose: To report the prevalence of the perinatal ocular disease in healthy infants referred to a referral eye centre in the Middle East region for comprehensive ocular examinations. Methods: All healthy full-term babies born at a tertiary care women’s and children hospital were referred to Moorfields Eye Hospital Centre in Abu Dhabi (MEHCAD), the United Arab Emirates for comprehensive ocular examination between January 2018 and April 2019. The examination included red-reflex testing, external, anterior and dilated posterior segment examination, and refraction. Results: Out of 6836 newborns, 4719 (69%) were not referred due to lack of national insurance (n = 3089), out of network referral (n = 1405), required ROP screening (n = 220) and identification of systemic diagnosis (n = 5). Of 2117 eligible referrals 897 (42%) babies were not examined because they either did not attend (890) or had a double booking for ROP screening (7); hence, 1220 babies (56%) were examined. Their mean age was 39 ± 16 days, and 48.8% were male, 51.2% were female. One hundred and sixty-four (13.4%) babies had an ocular abnormality in 249 (10.2%) eyes. The commonest abnormalities were nasolacrimal duct obstruction (36%) and refractive errors in 53 patients (32.3%). Congenital cataract and ptosis were present in four (0.3%) and three (0.2%) babies, respectively. The commonest retinal findings were intra-retinal haemorrhages (1.4%). Other posterior pole abnormalities included optic disc pit (0.08%) and myelinated nerve fibers (0.08%). One eye (0.08%) had a congenital macular hole. Conclusion: Comprehensive ocular examinations of healthy infants identifies a number of ocular abnormalities that would not be detected using red-reflex testing by a paediatrician or nurse.