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Pediatric Eye Care

Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP)

What is ROP?

Pediatric Eyes

Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) damages premature babies’ retinas, the layer of light-sensitive cells lining the back of the eye. ROP usually occurs in both eyes, though one may be more severely affected.

The last 12 weeks of a full-term pregnancy are an especially active time for the growth of the eye. When a baby is born prematurely, blood vessels are not ready to supply blood to the retina. At birth, abnormal new blood vessels form and may cause scarring or detachment of the retina. The condition is especially common in very small babies. It is more likely to occur at one or two pounds than at three pounds.

Treatment

In severe cases, the retina may be extremely scarred and detached. Many cases get better without treatment and only a small number of children go blind. Freezing (cryotherapy) or laser treatments can prevent progression of the disease.

Premature children and children with ROP are more likely to develop nearsightedness and amblyopia (lazy eye). Glasses, patching, and eye muscle surgery can help these associated problems. Close follow-up exams of all premature children, including those with ROP, are critical to ensure normal visual development.

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Boulder Eye Surgeons has been providing comprehensive medical and surgical eye care since 1997. We help patients of all ages in Boulder, Longmont, Lafayette, Louisville, and throughout Colorado to achieve and maintain clear vision. Our goal is to provide professional, compassionate and customized eye care to every patient, every time. We strive to understand your needs and exceed your expectations.

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