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Bascom Palmer Eye Institute

Retinopathy of Prematurity

Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is the leading cause of childhood blindness in developed countries. Bascom Palmer physicians and scientists have earned international recognition for pioneering research into the cause and prevention of ROP. Studies conducted in cooperation with community neonatologists and ophthalmologists have led the way to a new understanding of ROP and to the identification of its potential victims.

Premature or low birth weight babies are at risk for developing ROP. These babies are typically born before the blood supply to their retina is fully developed. As a result, the eye grows new blood vessels that have a tendency to bleed and scar. Without treatment, this leads retinal detachment and, ultimately, blindness.

Treatment

Bascom Palmer Eye Institute has an established ROP protocol for premature babies who meet specific criteria (including birth weight). The ROP team conducts an extensive screening examination, including photography, Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), ultrasound, and laser therapy to treat the rapid growth of abnormal blood vessels. Led by Dr. Audina Berrocal, the Bascom Palmer team continues to explore novel treatments for ROP, including injections of medicine into the eye to combat the formation of abnormal blood vessels.