November 22, 2019
1 min read

Use of mask after ROP exam helps minimize stress in infants

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Using a mask to decrease photosensitivity following screening for retinopathy of prematurity reduced stress in the infants after the examination, according to study.

Andrei- Alexandru Szigiato, MD, and colleagues investigated the effects of phototherapy masks worn during mydriasis on infant stress in the 12-hour period following the ROP screening.

“Exposure to early procedural pain in very premature infants has been linked to impaired cognitive development, reduced brain size in frontal and parietal lobes and a reduction in white matter and subcortical gray matter,” Szigiato, an ophthalmology resident at the Université de Montréal, and colleagues wrote. “Considering that premature infants are exposed to many painful procedures during their hospitalization, efforts to learn more about the causes of stress and discover new methods of increasing comfort are essential.”

The researchers analyzed data collected between April 2016 and June 2017 from the prospective, parallel group Effect of Eyemasks on Neonatal Stress Following Dilated Retinal Examination (MASK-ROP) study, in which infants were randomized 1:1 to wearing a phototherapy mask after pupil dilation or to control. The study arm wore the masks for a minimum of 4 hours after mydriatic drop instillation in addition to receiving standard comfort measures. Infants in the control arm underwent routine eye examination.

Fifty-one infants with mean gestational age of 27.9 weeks and mean birth weight of 1,058.6 g were included; 54.9% were stratified to the study group. Ten infants in the phototherapy mask group and 13 infants in the control group received ventilator support at the time of examination.

The number of all stressful events was lower in the treatment group than in the control group after adjustment for events before examination as well as ventilation status (P = .02).

Risk factors associated with increased stress included younger age and lower birth weight. – by Earl Holland Jr.

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.