Background/aims: The success of the treatment in patients with retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is mainly associated with timely diagnosis and appropriate management. Information dissemination is crucial for the outcome of ROP. This study aimed to evaluate the quality of the information about ROP available for patients on the internet. Methods: Cross sectional study. In March 2004 the ROP information available on the internet was evaluated using two search engines (MetaCrawler and MSN) and four key terms ("retinopathy of prematurity," "premature eye," "premature retina," and "ROP"). The quality of each website was evaluated using a score system. The sites were classified as academic, organisational, or commercial. Readability, general quality of the website (based on ownership, purpose, authorship, author qualification, attribution, interactivity, and currency), and quality of the content specific to ROP (definition, causes, epidemiology, risk factors, diagnosis, classification, treatment, and prognosis) were analysed. Results: Of 114 websites evaluated, 40 were included. 10 sites (25.0%) were academic, eight (20.0%) organisational, and 22 (55.0%) commercial. In the majority of the sites (62.5%) the ROP information was fair or poor. Conclusions: A large amount of information about ROP is available on the internet. However, most websites were considered incomplete.
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