Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a disease that occurs in premature babies. It causes abnormal blood vessels to grow in the eye. This growth can cause the retina to detach and lead to blindness.
In middle income countries, every baby born prematurely before week 34 or with a weight under 2000 grams requires eye screening one month after birth.
With the patient in the NICU or in the office, we use anesthetic eyedrops, we will open the eyes with a special speculum and use various devices as indirect ophthalmoscope, RetCam, or a special device for an iphone, and in very severe cases echography. In every patient we will need to perform a fluorescein angiography, where we use a colorant into the vessels to identify clearly the degree of disease. The colorant may give the skin a yellowish color that will disappear a few days after the injection.
Some cases of ROP are mild and correct themselves requiring screening every week or 2 until they reach week 52, but others require pharmacotheraphy (injections), laser, surgery or a combination of all of them in the aim of preventing vision loss or blindness.