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Retinopathy of Prematurity

Premature babies are born without fully developed (vascularized) retinas, which can lead to retinal detachment and blindness if not properly detected and treated. The smaller the baby is at birth, the more likely he or she will develop what’s known as retinopathy of prematurity. ROP usually occurs in both eyes and can open the door to a host of other ocular problems later in life, including severe myopia, strabismus (crossed eyes), glaucomacataracts and retinal detachments. For that reason, children with ROP should be continuously followed by an eye care professional. Premature babies are carefully screened today in hospital nurseries for ROP. Fortunately, when the condition is detected, the vast majority are not considered severe enough to require treatment. In the most advanced cases, laser therapy is used to repair the detached retina. Some children may be given an anti-VEGF (for vascular endothelial growth factor) injection in the eye. These agents decrease inflammation and the growth of abnormal blood vessels in and around the retina. 

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