Retinopathy of Prematurity

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    What is Retinopathy of Prematurity?

    Understanding About
    Retinopathy of Prematurity

    Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) is a condition characterized by abnormal growth of blood vessels in the retina of premature infants who have undergone oxygen therapy. Screening guidelines for ROP are based on factors such as gestational age and birth weight, with early detection being crucial.

    If left untreated, ROP can lead to childhood blindness. However, early treatment with interventions such as cryotherapy, laser photocoagulation, and anti-VEGF therapy has been shown to improve visual outcomes for affected infants.

    Therefore, understanding ROP involves recognizing its risk factors, screening guidelines, and the importance of early treatment to prevent vision loss.

    Retinopathy of Prematurity FAQs

    Retinopathy of Prematurity

    Infants with ROP are at higher risk for developing other eye problems in the future, such as retinal detachment, myopia (nearsightedness), strabismus (crossed eyes), amblyopia (lazy eye), and glaucoma.

    Fortunately, many of these eye problems can be treated.

    Treatment for ROP can reduce the risk of vision loss, but unfortunately, some infants do not respond to ROP treatment, and retinal scarring or detachment can still occur— though usually only affecting part of the retina.

    When a partial retinal detachment occurs, treatment is not always necessary, as it can resolve on its own without intervention. However, in some cases, treatment may be recommended to prevent a total retinal detachment that will require surgery to reattach the retina.

    ROP affects over 3.5% of all premature births, as over 14,000 cases are diagnosed annually in the USA.

    Approximately 3.9 million infants are born in the U.S. each year, with about 28,000 weighing in at 2¾ pounds or less at birth— but thanks to advances in neonatal care, not all premature infants develop ROP.

    About 90% of all infants with ROP have a mild case, requiring no treatment at all, as it generally resolves on its own.

    Premature infants are already more likely to have vision problems. Things like nearsightedness, crossed eyes, and glaucoma show up more often and earlier in children born prematurely. Regular eye exams can help catch these issues quickly.

    No one wants to give birth prematurely. Unfortunately, sometimes it can’t be prevented. We’ll do everything possible to limit factors we know can increase your baby’s risk of ROP.

    For instance, we have fine control over how much oxygen we give with our machines.

    But often, ROP will still occur. The best thing we can do is detect it early and treat it promptly.