Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a condition that can occur in premature babies when abnormal blood vessels grow in the retina. High risk babies are those born prematurely at <32 weeks, <1500 grams or required a lot of oxygen after birth. The condition can cause the retina to detach and lead to blindness. There are generally no symptoms associated with the condition, so it can only be diagnosed through an eye examination. Laser surgery is conducted in order to stop the growth of abnormal blood vessels.
During the procedure, tiny laser spots are used to burn away the peripheral retina where the abnormal blood vessels are located. Cryotherapy is another surgical treatment and involves freezing the peripheral retina in order to stop the growth of abnormal blood vessels. Since laser treatment has become available, cryotherapy is very seldom used. In some cases, injecting anti-VEGF into the eye can also be performed.
Dr Enslin Uys regularly examines these tiny babies and has the knowledge and experience to advise the best treatment for your baby. This usually takes place while your baby is in Neonatal ICU (NICU).