Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP)

What is retinopathy of prematurity?

What is retinopathy of prematurity?

Retinopathy of prematurity is defined as one of the most important health problems seen in the eyes of premature babies. The veins in babies' eyes develop until they are born. Since this development is not completed in preterm babies, it continues after birth.

Oxygen given in high concentrations to keep premature babies alive causes abnormal development of the vessels in the eye. As a result, retinopathy of prematurity, shortly called ROP, occurs in the retinas of infants whose vascularization is incomplete. If not treated early, it causes blindness in both eyes. For this reason, babies born prematurely must be checked by an ophthalmologist.

Which infants have retinopathy of prematurity mostly?

A normal pregnancy lasts 40 weeks or 280 days. If delivery occurs before 37 weeks is complete, the baby is considered premature. Babies born less than 2,500 grams are called low birth weight babies. Two-thirds of these babies are premature.

What are the risk factors for developing retinopathy of prematurity?

The most common group with retinopathy of prematurity is those born under 1,000 grams. Risk factors for retinopathy of prematurity apply to all infants born weighing less than 1500 g up to 32 weeks. For this reason, screening for ROP in preterm infants is mandatory.

Early diagnosis and treatment of ROP in newborn babies is possible with the collaboration of expert pediatricians and ophthalmologists. In addition, lung and cardiovascular diseases, severe infections, and brain problems in infants increase the risk of retinopathy. If it is diagnosed early, it can be treated, and when the treatment is delayed, it leads to blindness in both eyes.

When should infants have an eye examination?

The eye examination should be done between 4-6 weeks after birth. Success in the treatment of ROP, which has five stages from mild to severe, is related to the stage of the disease. In the first two stages, follow-up is sufficient, and laser and cryo treatment should be started in the third stage. Because the treatment gives the best results in the third stage.

Eye examination of all newborns in the first month is important not only for ROP but also for the timely diagnosis and successful treatment of many eye diseases such as glaucoma, lazy eye syndrome, lacrimal duct obstruction, and strabismus.

Pediatric Anesthesia

If anesthesia is required in the treatment of pediatric eye diseases, it is applied by anesthesiologists specialized in pediatric anesthesia. It’s performed in sterile operating rooms, on tables designed for pediatric patients, and with disposable medical consumables.


Prepared by the Dünyagöz Hospital Editorial Board.

*The content of this page is for informational purposes only. See your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

Last Update Date: 12.06.2023


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