What is retinopathy of prematurity (ROP)?

Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) is when the retinal blood vessels do not develop normally in babies that are born prematurely. It can cause a serious loss of vision if it isn't diagnosed and treated early.

The reasons why babies develop ROP are complicated, but ROP is more likely to occur in babies that:

  • are born very prematurely - particularly less than 32 weeks
  • have a low birth weight (less than 1500 grams)
  • have needed oxygen treatment.

There are five stages of ROP:

  • Babies who have stage 1 and stage 2 ROP may not have any vision problems and therefore won't usually require regular eye exams by an ophthalmologist.
  • Babies who have stage 3 ROP may be followed up in the hospital clinic according to the centre's protocol as they may be more likely to have eye problems.
  • Babies who have stages 4 and 5 ROP are likely to have significant vision loss.

Advanced ROP requiring treatment affects only around six percent of premature babies.

Did this answer your question?

Related questions

Brought to you by