Patient Care

Retinopathy of Prematurity (Children)

What is Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) in Children?

Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a vision-threatening eye disease that affects premature babies with very low birth weight (VLBW). The premature baby's retina and the retinal blood vessels did not complete their growth when the baby was born and abnormal blood vessels form in a premature baby's eye(s). The vessels can lead to bleeding and scarring. They may also cause retinal detachment, where the retina moves from its normal place in the eye.

Retinopathy of Prematurity

Babies who are born before 31 weeks gestation and who weighs less than 1500g are at greatest risks of developing ROP.

Babies who have severe ROP are at risk of retinal detachment leading to blindness. Babies with regressed but severe ROP may develop visual problems such as squint, myopia and astigmatism later in childhood.

All babies born before 32 weeks of life will undergo screening by eye specialists. Other more mature premature babies may also be required to undergo the screening if their postnatal course is unstable.

How is ROP in Children diagnosed?

Eye checks are performed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) before baby's discharge from the hospital. Before the eye checks, the babies will be given eye drops to dilate the pupils and provide local pain relief. These checks will be conducted periodically during the baby's stay in NICU.

What are the treatment options for ROP in Children?

Treatments depend on the child's condition, and may include laser therapy to prevent retinal detachment, injections in the eye or surgery to repair the retinal detachment.

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