Retinopathy of Prematurity in Children

Retinopathy of Prematurity, or ROP, is a serious eye condition affecting infants who are born prematurely. If not treated quickly and properly, it can lead to lifelong vision impairment or even blindness.

Retinopathy of Prematurity occurs as abnormal blood vessels grow and spread through the retina, possibly progressing to a retinal detachment. The eye begins developing at 16 weeks during a pregnancy. Rapid growth occurs during the last 12 weeks with retinal blood vessel growth completing just after birth. In babies born prematurely, this blood vessel growth is not allowed to complete, thus depriving the retina of adequate blood and nutrients.


It is very important all appointments are kept until retina matures.


Retinopathy of Prematurity is classified into five ascending stages according to severity. Stages one through three are marked by abnormal blood vessel growth. A partially or fully detached retina characterizes stages four and five.

Infants born with Retinopathy of Prematurity are at a much higher risk for developing other vision complications later in life.