Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a disorder affecting the development of retinal blood vessels in preterm infants. Eye screening examinations are important to the early detection and treatment of ROP. However, several studies have associated eye examinations with pain, stress, and negative physiological effects. Developmental care has been provided as part of neonatal care in recent decades, and some studies indicate that this care positively affects pain scores, stress response, and recovery time during ROP eye screenings. In this article, five elements of developmental care that are applicable for preterm infants undergoing eye examinations for ROP are highlighted and described. These five elements include environmental modifications (e.g., provide a quite environment and dim room lighting), positioning (e.g., offer a nest or positing support and promote the infant to achieve neuromotor development), oxygen delivery (provide adequate oxygen support according to clinical conditions), approach and interaction (e.g., talk softly to infants and gently touch them before the eye examination), and cue-based individual care (e.g., soothe infants, give them a short break or soother based on observations of needs and cue-based behavior). Effectively addressing these five elements may minimize the pain, stress, and energy consumption during ROP eye screenings and provide individualized care that is comfortable, supportive, and promotes the healthy development of preterm infants.
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