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Retinopathy of Prematurity

Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is also known as Terry syndrome and is a disease that may lead to blindness in premature infants. During fetal development, the blood vessels in the eye grow outward from the center of the retina. This development is generally completed in the last few weeks of gestation, but may be arrested in the case of premature delivery.

Retinopathy of Prematurity

Premature Birth and Retinopathy of Prematurity

Many pre-term infants are treated with oxygen therapy, which can constrict the retinal blood vessels. This leads to the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the eye and may also lead to the development of scar tissue that causes the retina to detach, leading to blindness.

ROP is described in several different ways. First, the retina is divided into circular zones (Zone 1 being the inner most) and then also characterized like the hours on a clock. Therefore, the disease might be observed in zone two at three to five o’clock. ROP also occurs in five stages.

  1. A faint demarcation line on the retina characterizes Stage 1.
  2. In Stage 2 there is an elevated ridge.
  3. Stage 3 develops as extra retinal fibrovascular tissue.
  4. Stage 4 has sub-total retinal detachment.
  5. Stage 5 is total retinal detachment.

ROP can be treated and managed in its early stages, and does not always lead to blindness. Musician Stevie Wonder’s blindness was the result of ROP.

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