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What to Know About Retinopathy of Prematurity?

What to Know About Retinopathy of Prematurity?

Eye Problems


Retinopathy of prematurity is a medical disorder that causes blindness or sight loss due to the unnatural development of blood vessels in the retina. This condition mainly affects premature infants born before the 37th week of pregnancy. There is five Retinopathy of Prematurity stages, which range from easily curable to seeking severe eye disease treatment.

What Is Retinopathy of Prematurity?

Retinopathy of prematurity happens when retinas fail to develop. The retina is the nerve tissue connected to the back of the eyes. While the mild cases of retinopathy of prematurity don’t require any treatment, infants with extreme ROP must undergo an ROP screening test to avoid blindness.

Stages of Retinopathy of Prematurity

ROP develops when the premature retinal blood vessels have yet to develop retina. Retinopathy of prematurity stages consists of five stages. These stages are:

  • Stage 1: In stage 1, the growth of blood vessels is slightly unnatural, and many infants at this stage get cured with less or no treatment and develop regular healthy sight. The condition gets resolved naturally.
  • Stage 2: In Stage 2, the retinal blood vessel’s growth is somewhat abnormal. However, with minor treatment, infants can have regular sight.
  • Stage 3: In stage 3, the growth is severely abnormal and grows toward the center of the eye instead of the retina's surface.
  • Stage 4: At this stage, the retina gets partially detached, and tension from the abnormal growth causes bleeding, leading to abnormal vessels pulling away from the retina.
  • Stage 5: At the end stage, the retina detaches completely. The lack of effective treatment causes visual impairment or blindness.

Symptoms & Causes of Retinopathy of Prematurity

Minor transformations in the retina are challenging to detect. A doctor specializing in eye disease treatment can detect ROP using the tools necessary to examine the retina. The symptoms of ROP are:

  • White pupils
  • Nystagmus
  • Strabismus
  • Glaucoma
  • Myopia

See Also: How to Deal with Squints (Strabismus): Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Though it is difficult to detect, all children born at 32 weeks or before having a birth weight less than 2.5 kg should be screened for ROP 4 weeks after birth.

Treatment Options for ROP

Three options for ROP treatment are laser therapy, cryotherapy, and injection. In laser therapy, the laser targets a specific spot to eliminate abnormal blood vessel growth. Cryotherapy freezes the part of the eye that extends beyond the retina. Its usage is rare today due to better results from laser therapy. An injection is a newer way of treatment where anti-caner drugs are put into each eye. These drugs block the growth of blood vessels in tumors in the eyes. But tests are still conducted to ensure that injection is completely safe and has no long-lasting side effects.

What Is the Treatment for Retinopathy of Prematurity?

The ideal combination for Eye disease treatment is laser therapy and medications. But if the condition is severe, then eye surgery is a must.


Retinopathy of Prematurity is a medical condition affecting the infants' retina. With proper treatment at the right time, ROP can be cured, and in the case of delayed treatment, the result will lead to blindness.

FAQ’s on Retinopathy of Prematurity

1. When do you treat in ROP?

The ideal time for treatment in ROP comes at stage 3 when the ROP is detected.

2. Can ROP resolve itself?

If the ROP is at stage 1, it will resolve naturally. 

3. What are the most common retinal diseases?

The most common retinal diseases are retinal tearing, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration.

See Also: Which Is the Common Retinal Problem Among Adults?

4. Can too much oxygen cause retinopathy of prematurity?

At a certain level, too much oxygen can cause retinopathy of prematurity.

Choose Netralayam for Your ROP Treatment

At Netralayam, our commitment is to provide the best optical treatment to our patients, including the ROP screening test and diabetic retinopathy treatment. Contact us today, and our eye doctors will come up with the best diagnosis and treatment method for your loved ones.



The mission of Netralayam is to provide tertiary level superspeciality eye care service of highest quality to all sections of the society through a team of competent, committed and compassionate professionals in a patient-friendly environment.

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