Retinopathy of prematurity

Disease

Retinopathy of prematurity is abnormal retinal development affecting prematurely-born babies. Preterm babies born very prematurely are greatly affected especially since their birth weight is low and they are suffering from other diseases.

Diagnosis

Following pupillary dilation using eye drops, fundus examination of a premature baby is performed to establish the diagnosis.

Evolution and management

There are different stages of disease severity but most forms are mild and resolve spontaneously without functional sequelae. However, very premature babies can develop more severe retinal disease and require urgent treatment including laser photocoagulation and surgery in the most severe cases. These may lead to significant vision loss or blindness.
High-risk babies should have retinal exam to detect retinopathy of prematurity. The first exam should take place within the first 4 weeks of life during neonatalogy hospitalization, and regular examination is required during first year of life in collaboration whith paediatricians.