Retinopathy of prematurity

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Does your premature baby has vision trouble?

Does your premature baby has vision trouble?

Retinopathy of prematurity or ROP is a disease of the eye that largely affects prematurely born infants who have been exposed to oxygen therapy. The oxygen therapy is used for treatment of premature development of baby’s lungs and for those infants who are weighing about 2¾ pounds (1250 grams) or are born before 31 weeks of pregnancy. This causes development of abnormal blood vessels in the retina which causes enlargement and may lead to detachment of retina from back side of the eye, resulting in blindness. This usually develops in both the eyes.

Symptoms of ROP

Irregular eye ball movements, weak near sightedness, crossed eyes and at times white looking pupils.

Stages of ROP

  1. Stage I:  With mildly abnormal blood vessel growth.
  2. Stage II: Moderate abnormal blood vessel expansion.
  3. Stage III: Severely abnormal blood vessel enlargement. Treatment can prevent further retinal detachment.
  4. Stage IV:  There is a partially detached retina.
  5. Stage V: Total retinal detachment. Should not be neglected.

Treatment

Timely treatment can improve a baby’s chances of normal vision. Laser therapy or cryotherapies are advised to prevent chances of complex ROP, but it has to be done before the retina detaches. If the retina has detached, surgery (scleral buckling or vitrectomy) becomes necessary.

Since some vision loss and problems may arise in future, each baby who has had ROP surgery should visit regularly for eye checkups even in adulthood.