MicroPulse Laser Therapy

“Take Care Of Your Premature Baby’s Vision”

Why should I worry about the eyes of a premature baby?

The inside of the eye (the retina) is not fully developed in a premature baby due to the early birth. Abnormal blood vessels can develop in a such a retina; this can cause bleeding inside the eye and even progress to retinal detachment. This is called Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP). The result is irreversible low vision or blindness.

How can we detect ROP?

A trained ophthalmologist can detect ROP by dilating the pupils of the eye using eye drops. An indirect ophthalmoscope is used to scan the entire retina to detect ROP and gauge the state of retinal maturity.

Do all babies need a Retinal examination for ROP?

Babies with a birth weight of less than 1700 gm or those at less than 35 weeks of pregnancy are most likely to ROP. Any other preterm baby who has had problems after birth (lack of oxygen / infection/ blood transfusion / breathing trouble, etc) is also vulnerable.

Is it too late for my baby’s eyes?

Follow the “Day-30” strategy. The retinal examination should be completed before “Day-30” pf the life of a premature baby.It should preferably be done earlier (at 2-3 weeks of birth) in very low weight babies (less than 1200 gm birth weight).

What is the treatment for ROP?

ROP is treated with laser rays or a freezing treatment (cryopexy). The treatment helps stop further growth of abnormal vessels thus preventing vision loss. Occasionally some injection (anti VGEF) may be used in the eyes where disease is progressing very rapidly and not responding. Surgery may be need for stage IV and V disease.

How often Should the retina be examined?

ROP can progress in 7-14 days and, therefore, needs a close follow up till the retina matures.

When should we treat ROP?

ROP needs to be treated as soon as it reaches a critical stage called threshold ROP. There is a 50% or greater risk of vision loss if left untreated after this. Time is crucial!

After Treatment

If treated on time, the child is expected to have reasonably good vision. All premature babies need regular eye examinations till they start going to school. They may need glasses or treatment for lazy eyes/ cross eyes and, sometimes, for cataract, glaucoma, retinal detachment