Retinopathy of Prematurity

What is Retinopathy of Prematurity?

Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) is a potentially blinding eye condition caused by the development of abnormal blood vessels on the retinas of infants born prematurely. ROP occurs in only a small percentage of premature infants, and is more prevalent in babies with very low birth weight or babies born at an earlier gestational age. Babies born before 31 weeks of gestation and weigh less than 1500 grams are at the highest risk of developing this condition.

In most cases of retinopathy of prematurity, the abnormal blood vessels will shrink and go away without damaging the retina. These cases are resolved without treatment. However, in more severe cases, the blood vessels may continue to grow, leading to scarring and bleeding of the retina, and potentially induce serious eye problems, such as retinal detachment and vision loss.

How is Retinopathy of Prematurity diagnosed and treated?

An accurate diagnosis of Retinopathy of Prematurity is made by a retina specialist after a careful examination of an infant's pupils that have been dilated with drops. Less severe cases of ROP may resolve itself without any further treatment, while more severe cases will require laser ablation of the abnormal blood vessels or cryotherapy.

Why Choose Weill Cornell Eye Associates?

The retina specialists at Weill Cornell Eye Associates are internationally-recognized for their expertise in complicated retinal detachment repair and vitreoretinal disorders such as Retinopathy of Prematurity. Dr. Robison V. Paul Chan runs the retinopathy of prematurity service at Weill Cornell Medical Center and has numerous clinical projects and collaborations studying ROP. His primary research interests focus on the pathogenesis and management of this condition. Dr. Chan is also interested in global health and currently works with numerous investigators worldwide to address the growing burden of retinopathy of prematurity in Latin America and Asia.

Robison V. Paul Chan, M.D., M.S.C., F.A.C.S., St. Giles Associate Professor of Pediatric Retina at Weill Cornell Medical College, discusses a condition known as Retinopathy of Prematurity that affects babies born prematurely. Dr. Chan specializes in treating this disease.


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