Retinopathy of Prematurity
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- Proliferative disorder of the retinal blood vessels in premature infants: The normal retinal vascularization occurs nasally at ~36 weeks’ gestational age and temporally at ~40 weeks’ gestational age.
- System(s) affected: nervous
- Synonym(s): ROP; retrolental fibroplasia
- 65.8% of infants weighing <1,251 g at birth and 81.6% of those weighing <1,000 g
- Predominant age: premature infants
- Predominant sex: male = female
Etiology and Pathophysiology
Oxidative processes (influenced by high levels of arterial oxygen) in immature retina may be an important causative factor.
African American infants appear less susceptible.
- Low birth weight
- Poor postnatal weight gain
- Supplemental oxygen; once the retina becomes fully vascularized, oxygen does not affect the retina.
- Supplemental oxygen given to premature infants with moderate ROP will not make the retinopathy worse.
- Maternal diabetes is associated with the development of ROP in premature infants with a birth weight of ≥1,500 g.
Commonly Associated Conditions
Neonatal respiratory distress syndrome