Should Parents Feed Infants Prior to Eye Exam for Retinopathy of Prematurity?

December 12, 2010

The eye exam performed to test infants for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) can be stressful since infants need to be given eye drops and then held still. Stress is reflected in changes in heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels, along with increased crying. To help reduce gastrointestinal distress, including vomiting, it is common practice to withhold feeding prior to the exam.

However, recent research, published in the Journal of AAPOS (the official publication of the American Association of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus), has found that feeding infants prior to an ROP exam unexpectedly reduced stress and did not increase vomiting or other negative gastric symptoms.

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