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Retinopathy of prematurity: Pathogenesis, epidemiology, classification, and screening

Author
David K Coats, MD
Section Editors
Joseph A Garcia-Prats, MD
Richard A Saunders, MD
Deputy Editor
Carrie Armsby, MD, MPH

INTRODUCTION

Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) 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.

This topic will review the pathogenesis, epidemiology, classification, and screening for ROP. The management and prognosis of ROP are discussed separately. (See "Retinopathy of prematurity: Treatment and prognosis".)

Other common eye problems in preterm 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 PRETERM INFANT'S EYE

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

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

                

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Literature review current through: Jun 2017. | This topic last updated: Dec 13, 2016.
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