Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is the leading cause of childhood blindness in developed countries. The cooperation studies betwen the community of neonatologists and ophthalmologists have led the way to a new understanding of ROP.
Premature or low birth weight babies are at risk for developing ROP. These babies are typically born before the blood supply to their retina is fully developed. As a result, the eye grows new blood vessels that have a tendency to bleed and scar. Without treatment, this leads retinal detachment and, ultimately, blindness.
It has been stablished a protocol for premature babies who met specific criteria, including birth weight. The ophthalmology should do an extensive screening examination, including photography, Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), ultrasound, and laser therapy to treat the rapid growth of abnormal blood vessels. The last treatments are including injections of anti-VEGF into the eye to combat the formation of abnormal blood vessels.