Retinopathy of Prematuirity (ROP)
Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) occurs due to abnormal growth of blood vessels in an infant’s eye. During development, blood vessels grow from the central part of the retina outwards. This process is completed few weeks before the normal time of delivery. However in premature babies, it is incomplete. If blood vessels grow normally, ROP does not occur. On the contrary, if the vessels grow and branch abnormally the baby develops ROP.
The incidence of ROP in India is between 38- 51.9% and it is as high as 80 – 100% in infants weighing <900 gms at birth or with a gestational age of <25 weeks. With the improved NICU care the incidence has increased. Unfortunately there is no proportionate increase in awareness among the medical fraternity. In the absence of an effective screening strategy an increasing number of children who could have been successfully managed are going irreversibly blind. The socioeconomic burden of such childhood blindness is immense.
What you need to do?
It is of utmost importance to refer premature babies to an ophthalmologist (Retina Specialist) on time. Follow the ‘30 day’ strategy. These examinations could save your patient’s sight.