ROP Screening Tests

Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a disease that can affect newborns who were born before 34 weeks of pregnancy. ROP occurs when the blood vessels in the retina – the light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye – grow abnormally. In severe cases, ROP can lead to blindness.

Although all premature infants are at risk for ROP, those born before 32 weeks are most at risk. ROP is most common in babies who weigh less than 2000 grams.

What is the ROP Screening?

ROP screening is an eye examination by an ophthalmologist to discover the symptoms or signs of ROP. It is diagnosed through a dilated eye exam, in which the doctor widens the pupil with eyedrops to get a better view of the blood vessels and retina.

When is This ROP Screening Done?

Between 4 and 6 weeks, the newborn should undergo its first screening exam. If more testing is necessary, the ROP stage confirms this.

Is ROP Common?

ROP is a common condition in premature infants; it typically only causes minor symptoms that go away on their own. However, it requires treatment if the baby is premature and is very small. It affects approximately 65% of babies with less than 1251 grams of birth weight.

What is the Cause of ROP?

There is no particular cause, but the main reason is premature delivery, and the more premature it is, the greater the chances of ROP. After birth, the blood vessels get triggered and grow abnormally to form scar tissue that can damage the retina if not treated severely.

About the ROP Examination Test

Risk Factors Associated With the ROP Test

There is no risk involved in the examination procedure, nor is this test painful. The doctor will examine the eyes to check the blood vessels and judge the severity of the condition.

Preparing for the ROP Test

When the baby is 25–30 days old, performing the initial ROP screening is advisable. One hour before the examination, eye drops are put in the eyes of the baby to dilate the pupil. Infants should be held gently and require comforts like pacifiers and wrapping.

What To Expect From the ROP Test

In a hospital or neonatal unit, a pediatric ophthalmologist performs this examination. After dilating the pupil, the retina is carefully examined using an indirect ophthalmoscope.

The infant is monitored by the doctors for any signs of distress. If the child is uncomfortable, the doctors postpone the tests, and the child is put in a comfortable position.

After the examination, the infant must be monitored for heart rate and respiratory status.

Possible Results of the ROP Test

The findings can be no ROP, present in one eye or both, immature retinal vessels, and mention of various stages. Most cases of mild ROP improve without any treatment, whereas a complete diagnosis and treatment are required to start to protect the baby's vision.

In case of further screening, the doctor communicates the date and place.

Different Types of ROP Treatments

Depending upon the stage of the ROP, the doctor advises any treatments to ensure the ROP does not deteriorate and prevent blindness. Treatment options are shared below:

  • Laser treatment
  • Injections
  • Eye surgery
  • Scleral buckle surgery
  • Vitrectomy

When to See a Doctor?

Regular and advised examinations and follow-ups are essential for the healthy survival of preterm babies with ROP. If not diagnosed and treated in time, severe ROP can affect a baby's sight or cause blindness.


There are two ROP screening tests: the plus and the follow-up. The plus test is given to all babies born at 34 weeks or later, and the follow-up test is given if the plus test is positive. It's important to get both tests on time so that you can treat any ROP as early as possible. If your baby is born premature, ask your doctor about ROP and the required details about your baby.

Request an appointment at Apollo Cradle, Amritsar - Abadi Court Road. Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.

1. What are the symptoms of ROP?

Newborns with severe ROP might have white pupils and abnormal eye movements. Consult the pediatric ophthalmologist as soon as possible.

2. Can babies with ROP see?

Babies with ROP can see, but the abnormal blood vessels grow in the eye's retina.

3. Can ROP be cured?

Mild cases of ROP get better without any treatment. However, advanced ROP may result in permanent vision issues or blindness without any harm to the eyes or eye, which is why it calls for immediate medical attention.

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