Retinopathy Of Prematurity

Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a potentially blinding eye disorder that can affect premature babies. It occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina, leading to scarring and detachment of the retina if left untreated. ROP can cause lifelong vision impairment or even blindness in extreme cases. Early diagnosis is key for the treatment and prevention of long-term vision loss. With timely intervention, most babies with ROP can achieve normal vision development.

What are the different types of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP)?

There are three main types of retinopathy of prematurity: mild, aggressive, and extreme. Mild retinopathy is the most common and develops when abnormal blood vessels grow on the retina. Aggressive retinopathy occurs when these vessels become blocked, potentially leading to scarring or detachment of the retina. Extreme retinopathy is the most severe form and can cause blindness if left untreated.

What are the symptoms of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP)?

Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) can cause several symptoms in premature babies, including high myopia, strabismus, cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal detachment. It can also lead to poor vision development, amblyopia, and refractive errors. In some cases, white or grey retinal scars may be visible during an eye exam. As ROP progresses, the baby may experience increased light sensitivity and a decrease in visual acuity. If left untreated, severe forms of ROP can lead to blindness.

When should one see a doctor for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP)?

If a baby is born prematurely, the doctor should immediately begin examining them for retinopathy of prematurity. It is important to note that this condition can appear at any time up to five months after birth. If any signs are spotted, it is advised that patients visit an ophthalmologist as soon as possible. As the condition progresses, further treatments may be required, such as laser therapy or surgery. Regular check-ups thereafter are recommended to monitor the development of the disease and its effects on vision. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential to prevent vision loss in these cases.

How can one prevent retinopathy of prematurity (ROP)?

To prevent retinopathy of prematurity, doctors should closely monitor the oxygen levels to which premature babies are exposed. It is important to keep oxygen levels low enough to prevent harm but high enough for babies to thrive and develop healthily. If a baby's retinas are more sensitive than normal, the doctor may reduce oxygen exposure further. Reducing light exposure and monitoring for hypertension can also help prevent retinopathy of prematurity. Lastly, providing correct nutrition and supplementing with vitamin E can aid in prevention.

When would a doctor recommend retinopathy of prematurity (ROP)?

Doctors recommend retinopathy of prematurity to premature babies born before 32 weeks gestation and/or those weighing less than 1500g. It is often recommended that these babies receive a full eye exam shortly after birth, usually between two and four weeks. Patients may be advised to have follow-up eye examinations at regular intervals until the child is discharged from the hospital. Additionally, if any abnormalities are noticed in the child's eyes, such as cloudiness or unusual blood vessel growth, then further screening may be recommended.

How should a patient prepare for the procedure of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP)?

The best way to prepare for retinopathy of prematurity is to detect it as early as possible. Parents should ensure that their baby's eyes are monitored regularly throughout their first year, and any vision changes should be reported to a doctor immediately. It is also important to follow the doctor's advice and keep up with any recommended treatments. To reduce the risk of developing retinopathy of prematurity, babies should be kept in a smoke-free environment and should not be exposed to bright lights or sunlight.

What is the follow-up period for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP)?

Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) requires regular follow-up and monitoring. Treatment is based on the results of these visits. The follow-up period is typically every 4-6 weeks until the ROP has resolved or reached a point of stable disease, at which point it is reduced to every 6–12 months until 5 years of age. For those who develop advanced stages of ROP, lifelong care may be necessary.


Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) services typically include assessments and treatments such as laser ablation, cryotherapy, and scleral buckling. Laser ablation is a procedure that uses a high-intensity beam of light to destroy abnormal tissue in the retina. Cryotherapy involves freezing the affected area of the eye with liquid nitrogen or similar substances. Scleral buckling is a surgical technique that involves placing a silicone band around the eye to provide support to the weakened retinal wall. All these assessments and treatments are performed under local anaesthesia, making them safe and effective.           

Request an appointment at Apollo Cradle, Hyderabad - Jubilee Hills. Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.

1. What is the cause of retinopathy of prematurity?

Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is caused by abnormal retinal vessel development in premature babies as a result of oxygen therapy and other medical interventions.

2. What are the risk factors for developing ROP?

Factors that increase the risk of ROP include a birth weight of fewer than 1250 grammes, gestational age of fewer than 32 weeks, anaemia, high levels of carbon dioxide in the blood, and the use of certain medications.

3. How is retinopathy of prematurity diagnosed?

Most of the time, an ophthalmologist uses a special tool called an indirect ophthalmoscope to check a person's eyes to see if they have ROP.

4. What are some possible treatments for retinopathy of prematurity?

Treatment for ROP may include laser surgery, cryotherapy, or observation, depending on the severity and progression of the condition.

5. Are there any long-term effects associated with retinopathy of prematurity?

Possible long-term effects associated with ROP can include vision loss, reduced visual acuity, strabismus, amblyopia, and/or glaucoma.

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