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Retinopathy of prematurity

Author
Evelyn A Paysse, MD
Section Editors
Joseph A Garcia-Prats, MD
Richard A Saunders, MD
Deputy Editor
Carrie Armsby, MD, MPH

INTRODUCTION

Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), formerly known as retrolental fibroplasia because of its end-stage appearance, is a developmental vascular proliferative disorder that occurs in the retina of preterm infants with incomplete retinal vascularization. Next to cortical blindness, ROP is the most common cause of childhood blindness in the United States. Other ophthalmologic disorders that occur frequently in preterm infants include amblyopia, strabismus, and refractive errors.

An overview of ROP will be provided below. Other common eye problems in premature infants are discussed separately. (See "Refractive errors in children" and "Amblyopia in children: Classification, screening, and evaluation" and "Evaluation and management of strabismus in children".)

THE PREMATURE INFANT'S EYE

The size and characteristics of the eye differ in premature and term infants:

The globe diameter is approximately 10 to 14 mm at 28 weeks' gestation, compared with 16 to 17 mm at term.

The cornea and vitreous may be hazy in premature infants and impede visualization of the fundus. Small peripheral lens vacuoles are common. In addition, an incompletely involuted hyaloid artery may appear as a white or red strand in the vitreous.

                         

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Literature review current through: Nov 2016. | This topic last updated: Tue Mar 29 00:00:00 GMT+00:00 2016.
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