Treatment of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) by an experienced retina specialist can save your baby’s sight.
Treatment Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP)
When the changes of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) reach a certain level, called threshold disease, then treatment is usually advised.
I personally try to treat a baby the next day. Though some doctors will put treatment off for a few days, I, too, am a parent of young children. I try to put myself in your shoes– waiting can be really tough and worrisome.
Laser Treatment for Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP)
In most cases, retinopathy of prematurity is treated by a trained retina specialist, comfortable and experienced with laser treatment on tiny babies. Either at the baby’s bedside, or in the operating room, laser treatment is applied to the surrounding retina, helping it mature normally.
Some retina specialists need a baby to be given general anesthesia; I personally am comfortable with just light sedation. Ultimately, I leave that decision to the amazing group of neonatologists and anesthesiologists with whom I work at Arnold Palmer Hospital and Florida Hospital for Children. Collectively, we have had almost sixteen years of working together, taking care of the eyes of premature infants.
In most cases, both eyes are treated at the same time, and it takes just under an hour or so, from start to finish. A little bit of ointment is applied, and your baby goes back to his or her room; there is typically no pain.
I personally recheck your baby in a few days, and continue to keep a careful, personal watch until I am absolutely comfortable that your baby is fully healed.
As parents, I always try to personally call you myself. I never instruct a nurse to communicate what is going on with your child. I will typically give you my personal cell phone, as well.
If you trust me with the welfare of your child, I promise to treat them like my own.
Avastin for Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP)
In some rare cases, injection of a medicine into the eye, called Avastin, may be useful.
The injection is usually given at your baby’s bedside, with anesthetic drops or a tiny injection of anesthetic. Some doctors treat both eyes at the same time; I usually treat on two different days, because I want to reduce the risk of infection.
In some cases, an injection is all that your baby may need; in others, laser treatment may be helpful later on.
Your retina specialist should be experienced, comfortable and knowledgable about treating retinopathy of prematuiryt(ROP), and as always, discuss you with you all the options that may be offered to help our child.