Retinopathy Of Prematurity

Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a sight-threatening eye condition most commonly seen in premature babies. This condition occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow in the retina, which can lead to scarring and retinal detachment. ROP can be mild or severe, and if left untreated, it can cause permanent vision loss or blindness. Early diagnosis is essential for successful treatment; however, timely detection of ROP can prevent long-term damage. With proper care and management, the outlook for babies with ROP is generally favourable.

What is ROP?

Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a disease that affects the eyes of premature babies. It occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow and spread throughout the layer of tissue in the retina, which can cause scarring or lead to retinal detachment. Without treatment, ROP can cause significant vision loss, including blindness. Treatment involves laser therapy to stop the growth of abnormal blood vessels and prevent further damage. Early detection and timely treatment are keys to minimizing potential visual complications from ROP.

What are the different types of ROP?

There are three main types of retinopathy of prematurity: mild, aggressive, and recurrent. Mild retinopathy of prematurity is the most common form, usually appearing in babies born before 30 weeks. Aggressive retinopathy of prematurity is seen in more severely premature babies and can cause rapid progression to advanced stages. Recurrent retinopathy of prematurity occurs when levels of disease activity increase after initially improving with treatment.

What are the causes of ROP?

Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is caused by an immature vascular system in the eyes of premature babies. This can result in too much oxygen being delivered to the eye, leading to abnormal growth of blood vessels in the retina. Abnormal levels of oxygen and light exposure can also lead to ROP, as can genetic factors. In cases where there is a lack of retinal tissue development, ROP can occur due to poor vascularization and/or abnormal growth of already existing vessels. Furthermore, certain medications given to preterm infants may increase the risk of developing ROP.

What are the symptoms of ROP?

Retinopathy of prematurity is a retinal disorder found in premature infants. Symptoms include poor vision, strabismus (cross-eyed), and/or retinal detachment. It can also cause nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Common signs of the disorder are abnormal red reflexes in the eyes and abnormal pupillary responses to light. Some infants may show features of amblyopia (lazy eye). In some cases, the retina may be abnormally pale or thickened, or there may be evidence of irregular vessels or tears in the retina.

When should you see a doctor for ROP?

It is recommended that any infant born before the age of 31 weeks or weighing under 1500g should be monitored closely for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). If there are signs of abnormal eye development, a doctor should be consulted. A diagnosis can be made during regular eye exams performed by an ophthalmologist between four and eight weeks after birth. Depending on the severity, treatment may include laser therapy, freezing treatments (cryotherapy), or injection of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor in the eye.


Retinopathy of prematurity is a condition that can have serious and long-lasting effects on babies born prematurely. Early detection of the condition through regular screening is essential for the best possible outcomes, as treatments are most successful when started as early as possible. With prompt diagnosis, treatments such as laser therapy or bevacizumab injections can help prevent vision loss or even blindness in many cases. With careful monitoring and timely intervention, retinopathy of prematurity does not have to lead to lifelong vision impairment.

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

1. How is ROP diagnosed?

ROP is typically diagnosed through a comprehensive eye exam performed by an ophthalmologist. The doctor will examine the baby's eyes for signs and symptoms of the condition.

2. What are the long-term effects of ROP?

Depending on the severity and type of ROP, long-term effects may include permanent vision impairment or blindness, strabismus (eye misalignment), nystagmus (rapid involuntary movement of the eyes), astigmatism (an irregularly shaped cornea), and/or amblyopia (lazy eye).

3. Who is at risk for retinopathy of prematurity?

Infants born before the 32nd week of pregnancy are at increased risk for developing ROP.

4. Is there any way to prevent Retinopathy of Prematurity?

Prevention measures include maintaining proper oxygen levels in newborns and providing adequate nutrition during development.

Book an Appointment




Pregnancy Calculator