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pain management, premature infants, retinopathy of prematurity eye examination



  1. Samra, Haifa A. PhD, RN


Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) remains a concern for many preterm infants. Early detection and timely treatment have been shown to be effective in improving visual outcomes; moreover, it is crucial that a series of indirect ophthalmic examinations be performed until an infant is considered no longer at risk for the disease. The purpose of this systematic review is to summarize and evaluate the published evidence regarding characteristics and effectiveness of pain management interventions during the ROP examination. Implications for practice are discussed and suggestions for further research are made. Despite the general consensus that ROP examination is a painful procedure with considerable amount of discomfort, evidence shows that pain management during the ROP examination is inadequate. Although there are currently clear recommendations and guidelines for performing the ROP examination, there are no standard protocols for pharmacological and nonpharmacological pain management during the ROP examination. This is an area where much work is still needed to address the needs of the infant during this critical examination.