Doctors do not fully know all the factors leading to ROP. What is clear is that the smallest and sickest babies are at highest risk of ROP.
In the 1940's and 1950's, premature babies were often placed in oxygen whether or not they had lung problems or needed extra oxygen. Some of these babies developed Retrolental Fibroplasia, a condition like advanced ROP. Today, the use of oxygen is carefully monitored so babies get the right amount of oxygen into their blood, not too little or too much. In fact, enough oxygen in the blood is important for healing ROP.
Premature babies who are born under 30 to 33 weeks of gestation are at higher risk of developing ROP than babies at over 34 weeks gestation.
Premature infants more frequently need spectacles in early childhood than children who were not born premature. This may be the case even if your child did not have ROP, but it is more common in children with ROP. It is also possible to develop "lazy eye" (amblyopia) or wandering eye (strabismus). Severe ROP can lead to blindness.
Primary risk factors: Premature babies born under 30 to 33 weeks of gestation have high risk of ROP.
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