Retinopathy Of Prematurity

Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a potentially blinding eye disorder that occurs in premature infants. It affects the development of the retina, the light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye, and can lead to severe vision impairment, even blindness. ROP is a major cause of visual impairment in children worldwide and requires specialist treatment from early diagnosis in order to reduce its severity. Early detection and intervention can help prevent long-term damage for those affected by this condition.

What is ROP?

Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a potentially blinding eye disorder that affects premature babies. It can cause abnormal blood vessels to grow in the retina, leading to scarring and potentially detaching the retina from the back of the eye. ROP usually develops within a few weeks after birth in babies born before 31 weeks of gestation. The main risk factor for ROP is low birth weight, but other factors such as oxygen levels, infections, and gestational age may also contribute. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential to prevent further visual loss or blindness.

What are the different types of ROP?

There are three main types of retinopathy of prematurity: mild, moderate, and severe. Mild cases involve small, scattered areas of retinal bleeding, which are usually not serious. Moderate cases involve larger areas of retinal bleeding and may require treatment. Severe cases include the development of new blood vessels in the retina, which can lead to retinal detachment and vision loss.

What are the causes of ROP?

Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is caused by a combination of factors. The primary factor is an immature vascular system, which can lead to abnormal blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. Premature babies are particularly vulnerable to this condition due to their still-developing eyes. Other contributory factors include oxygen therapy, certain medications, and the use of ventilators. Poorly managed levels of oxygen in the blood can also cause ROP, as too much or too little oxygen can damage blood vessels in the retina.

What are the symptoms of ROP?

Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a sight-threatening eye disorder that occurs in premature babies. Symptoms include poor vision or blindness, crossed eyes, pupil and iris abnormalities, and retinal detachment. In some cases, babies may have difficulty focusing or their eyes may wander. Abnormal blood vessels on the retina can cause scarring, leading to abnormal growth and pulling on the retina. Complications from ROP can include glaucoma, cataracts, and corneal opacities. Treatment for ROP includes laser therapy to seal off abnormal blood vessels or cryotherapy to freeze and destroy them. Early detection is key to achieving the best outcome for the baby's vision.

When should you see a doctor for ROP?

If a baby is born prematurely, it is highly recommended to have regular eye examinations for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). It is particularly important to visit a doctor if the baby is born extremely preterm (before 28 weeks) or has a low birth weight. Parents should also be vigilant and seek medical help if they notice any signs of vision impairment in their child, such as poor vision or crossed eyes. The sooner ROP is detected and treated, the better the outcome will be. Ultimately, early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent visual impairment or blindness in extreme cases.


Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a potentially serious eye condition that affects most premature babies who are born before 32 weeks of pregnancy. Treatment options depend on the progression of the disease but typically involve laser surgery to seal off the abnormal blood vessels in the retina. While ROP can cause vision loss, early diagnosis and treatment greatly increase the chances of preserving sight. For parents of a premature baby, it is important to be aware of ROP and understand what symptoms to look out for. With timely detection and proper treatment, it is possible to prevent blindness from this condition and give your child the best chance at healthy vision development.

Request an appointment at Apollo Cradle, DELHI-NCR - Moti Nagar. Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.

1. How can Retinopathy of Prematurity be prevented?

ROP can be prevented through careful monitoring of oxygen levels and proper management of other risk factors, such as sepsis and intraventricular haemorrhage.

2. Is there a cure for Retinopathy of Prematurity?

While there is no cure for ROP, it can be treated with laser therapy or cryotherapy to prevent further vision loss.

3. What long-term effects may result from Retinopathy of Prematurity?

Long-term effects from ROP may include blindness, cataracts, strabismus, glaucoma, retinal detachment, and optic nerve damage.

4. Are there any risks associated with treatment for Retinopathy of Prematurity?

Treatment for ROP carries some risks, including inflammation, infection, and bleeding in the eye.

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