The retina is the inner layer of the eye where all the images are formed and then perceived by the brain enabling a person to see. If our retina is not well developed our vision will never develop properly.
Development of the human retina continues to occur throughout pregnancy and absence in the blood vessels in certain areas of the retina can occur if a child is born prematurely. This disease is called retinopathy of prematurity and can put a child’s ability to see in grave danger.
Retinopathy of pre maturity or ROP is a condition which can occur in children born before 34 weeks of pregnancy or born with low birth weight of less than 2 kilograms at the time of delivery. All such premature or low birth weight children should be screened by a pediatric ophthalmologist about 4 weeks after birth and regularly thereafter until all the the blood vessels have developed fully.
In some children who are affected by retinopathy of prematurity, the growth of normal blood vessels is compromised and abnormal blood vessels develop in retina. These can leak and bleed and damage the retina.
If during screening certain troubling changes are noted in the retina they can be reversed by treating them with laser treatment to the eye and other procedures hence saving the retina. If this is not done in time the child may go blind.
This is why all premature babies mentioned above should go through the screening protocol.
At The Eye Center, we have have expert pediatric ophthalmologists who specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of ROP.
If you know someone who has a premature child and is unaware of the urgent need for screening and possible care of this very serious disease, please ask them to book an urgent appointment with one of our expert pediatric ophthalmologists who specialise in ROP.