Background. Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), one of the most common causes of preventable blindness in preterm neonates, is emerging as a 'third epidemic' in middle-income countries including South Africa. This is due to the increasing survival of preterm neonates, insufficient monitoring of oxygen saturation (SaO2) in most centres, and lack of an ROP screening guideline in most neonatal units.
Objective. To guide the standard of care for SaO2 and ROP screening in preterm neonates weighing <1 500 g.
Validation. This guideline, endorsed by the United South African Neonatal Association (USANA), the Ophthalmological Society of South Africa (OSSA), and the South African Vitreoretinal Society, was developed by the ROP Working Group of South Africa, comprised of neonatologists, ophthalmologists and paediatricians.
Recommendations. All healthcare professionals involved in the care of preterm neonates should be aware of SaO2 and ROP screening guidelines. Mothers should be counselled about the possible complications of prematurity.