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Retinopathy of Prematurity

Retinopathy of prematurity

Dragged optic disc
The optic disc is being pulled temporally by a preretinal membrane. This membrane has formed because of recurrent retinal bleeding from new blood vessels growing in the peripheral retina.

Retinopathy of prematurity
In premature infants with birth weights of 2000 gms or less, the retinal vessels are immature. When they are exposed to room oxygen, they may sprout neovascular buds that bleed, scar, and eventually detach the retina.

The retinopathy can only be visualized with skilled examination with an indirect ophthalmoscope that allows a view of the peripheral retina.

A large collaborative trial has shown that early retinal cryotherapy of certain forms of this retinopathy reduces the chances of a poor visual outcome.

What to do?
All babies with birth weights of 2000 gms or less should be screened 4-6 weeks postnatally by an ophthalmologist experienced in retinal examination of infants. If the exam is negative, a second exam should occur 4 weeks later.

If certain findings are present, cryotherapy or laser therapy is effective in reducing blindness.

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