Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a retinal disease that affects premature babies. It causes abnormal blood vessels to grow in the retina, potentially causing a retinal detachment that can lead to blindness.
ROP can stop or reverse itself at any point, so it often resolves as the baby grows. Some cases of ROP are mild and tend to correct themselves. Others may require surgery to prevent vision loss and blindness. The surgery for ROP involves laser therapy in order to stop the growth of the abnormal blood vessels. Because there are various stages to ROP, the treatment will be different depending on the severity.
ROP causes abnormal blood vessels to grow on the retina. These new, abnormal blood vessels leak blood and fluid, which can lead to scarring of the retina. When the scar tissue shrinks, it pulls on the retina, causing the retina to pull away from the back of the eye. Since the retina is a vital part of vision, a retinal detachment will cause blindness.
ROP has no symptoms and is often diagnosed during an eye exam with an eye doctor. Angioletti Retina offers eye exams for infants that detect diseases such as ROP. If your child is due for an eye exam, call Angioletti Retina to set up an appointment.