Histological research conducted over the past few decades has confirmed the fovea’s early development. However, this method’s success has been hampered by structural deformation caused by sample processing and a lack of high-quality post-mortem tissue. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) and OCT angiography (OCT-A) are 2 examples of high-resolution, non-invasive imaging techniques that have made in vivo observation of the growing retina conceivable. The evolution of the retina, and in particular the fovea, can now be better understood because of the incorporation of data from both histology studies and this innovative imaging information. Previously low survival rates for preterm infants have improved thanks to developments in neonatal care. However, an increase in retinal developmental problems has occurred along with improved survival. Several major anomalies have been described in premature newborns compared to full-term infants, including a thickening of the inner retina at the foveal center, a shallower foveal pit, a smaller foveal avascular zone, and delayed development of the photoreceptors. Importantly, these anomalies appear to continue into later childhood and adulthood in the eyes of persons born prematurely, which is associated with a partial stoppage of foveal development. It is crucial to comprehend these pathologic features related to preterm if one is to understand normal foveal development. This study begins by outlining the many state-of-the-art imaging techniques that have been adopted for imaging the infant’s eye. Researchers next compare and contrast structural features in the normal and preterm retinas during infancy and youth, reviewing key events and milestones in the normal structure of the fovea’s development along the way. They concluded by addressing the topic of perifoveal retinal microvasculature development and pointing up avenues for furthering the knowledge of the fovea’s early stages.

Source: sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1350946222000271