Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP)
Very premature infants with retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) exhibit impaired development of their retinal vascular network, with potentially disastrous consequences (complete detachment of the retina, leading to blindness).
Premature infants (born at less than 32 weeks of gestation, and with a birthweight of less than 1500 grams), are at increased risk of developing retinopathy of prematurity.
High-risk premature infants should be monitored (by fundoscopy) throughout the duration of their stay in the neonatal intensive care unit, but later as well.
If they reach dangerous stages of ROP, then we perform laser photocoagulation (and, in exceptional cases, an intrabulbar injection of an anti-angiogenic agent).
However, all premature infants should be monitored on a long-term basis, due to them having a greater probability of developing:
- High myopia
- Impaired vision due to brain damage