Retinopathy of Prematurity

Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) damages premature babies’ retinas, the layer of light-sensitive cells lining the back of the eye. ROP usually occurs in both eyes, though one may be more severely affected.

 

The last 12 weeks of a full-term pregnancy are an especially active time for the growth of the eye. When a baby is born prematurely, blood vessels are not ready to supply blood to the retina. At birth, abnormal new blood vessels form and cause scarring or detachment of the retina. The condition is especially common in very small babies. It is more likely to occur in babies weighing one or two pounds than in babies weighing three pounds or more. 

 

Despite improved medical care, the disease is becoming more common because smaller and sicker infants are surviving. Supplemental oxygen given to premature babies may be part of the cause of ROP, but it is not the only factor as was once thought. 

 

In severe cases, the retina may be extremely scarred and detached. Many cases get better without treatment and only a small number of children go blind. Cryotherapy (freezing) or laser treatments can prevent progression of the disease. 

Children with ROP are more likely to develop nearsightedness and amblyopia (lazy eye). Eyeglasses, patching, and eye muscle surgery can help these associated problems. Follow-up examinations of severely affected children should continue periodically. 

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Athens Eye Doctors & Surgeons, LLC

105 Trinity Place 
Athens, GA 30607

 

Phone:     706-549-9993

Toll Free: 800-962-3547

Fax:          706-549-4047

We are available to schedule appointments and answer questions Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Friday by calling 706-549-9993 or toll free 800-962-3547

 

Main Office and Surgical Center: Athens, Georgia

Satellite Offices: Commerce, Greensboro, Lavonia, Madison & Washington

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