Retinopathy of Prematurity
(ROP; Retrolental Fibroplasia; RLF)
DefinitionRetinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a rare eye condition. It occurs in infants who are premature or have low birthweight. ROP causes a problem in the retina, the tissue that lines the back of the eye. The blood vessels in the retina grow abnormally.The abnormal blood vessels can lead to bleeding and scarring in the retina. In the most serious cases, ROP can lead to a separation of the retina from the back of the eye. In a small number of cases, ROP may cause vision loss or blindness.
|Normal Anatomy of the Eye|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
CausesThe exact cause of ROP is unknown.
Risk FactorsFactors that increase the chance of an infant developing ROP include:
- Premature birth , especially babies born less than 30 weeks gestation
- Low birth weight, especially babies weighing less than three pounds
- Low or fluctuating oxygen levels
- Respiratory distress
SymptomsThere are usually no signs of ROP until it reaches a severe stage. Severe ROP may cause:
- White pupils
- Abnormal eye movements
- Crossed eyes (turning toward each other)
- Amblyopia (lazy eye)
DiagnosisA specialist will screen for ROP if your infant has risk factors such as prematurity and low birth weight. The doctor will use a special eye exam to view the blood vessels in the retina.The doctor will examine your infant’s eyes every 1-2 weeks until the blood vessels in the retina are fully developed.
More from Beliefnet
A systematic review found that participants given chewing gum after abdominal surgery may have a faster return to normal for their digestive system. Unfortunately, the quality of trials is low and more research will need to be done before this simple solution is confirmed.
Early Peanut Consumption Associated with Lower Risk of Peanut Allergy in High Risk Children
Breastfeeding May Decrease the Risk of Childhood Obesity
Tonsillectomy May Reduce Number of Sore Throat Days in Children