Subfoveal fluid in healthy full-term newborns observed by handheld spectral-domain optical coherence tomography

Michelle T. Cabrera, Ramiro S. Maldonado, Cynthia A. Toth, Rachelle V. O'Connell, Bei Bei Chen, Stephanie J. Chiu, Sina Farsiu, David K. Wallace, Sandra S. Stinnett, Gabriela M. Maradiaga Panayotti, Geeta K. Swamy, Sharon F. Freedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


To report retinal findings for healthy newborn infants imaged with handheld spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD OCT). Prospective, observational case series. Thirty-nine full-term newborn infants underwent dilated retinal examinations by indirect ophthalmoscopy and retinal imaging by handheld SD OCT, without sedation, at the Duke Birthing Center. Of the 39 infants imaged, 44% (17/39) were male. Race and ethnicity composition was 56% white, 38% black, 3% Asian, and 3% Hispanic. Median gestational age was 39 weeks (range, 36 to 41 weeks). Six (15%) of the 39 infants had bilateral subfoveal fluid on SD OCT not seen by indirect ophthalmoscopy. Eight infants (21%) had retinal hemorrhages noted on dilated retinal examination, 1 of which had subretinal fluid on SD OCT. Subretinal fluid was noted on follow-up examination to have resolved on SD OCT 1 to 4 months later. Infants with bilateral subretinal fluid had an older gestational age compared with infants without subretinal fluid (median, 40.4 vs 39.1 weeks, respectively; P =.03) and were more likely to have had mothers with diabetes (2/6 vs 0/33, respectively; P =.02). Vaginal versus Caesarian section delivery was not significantly different between the 2 groups. Some healthy full-term infants have bilateral subfoveal fluid not obvious on dilated retinal examination. This fluid resolves within several months. The visual significance of this finding is unknown, but clinicians should be aware that it is common when evaluating newborn infants for retinal pathologic features using SD OCT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-175.e3
JournalAmerican Journal of Ophthalmology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology

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