Risk Factors for Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP)
Retinopathy of prematurity occurs in babies that are born earlier than expected, or premature– usually by many weeks. In general, the earlier the baby is born, and the smaller it is at birth, the bigger the risk of developing retinopathy of prematurity. Besides being born early, other risk factors include infections, bleeding in the brain, being a set of twins/triplets, and requiring high concentrations of oxygen for a long time.
Select Retina Specialists Diagnose Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP)
In Orlando and Lake Mary, the doctors with whom I work can identify which babies are at risk, and can consult me to help. In some communities, a retina specialist does the evaluations and possible treatment.
In Orlando and Lake Mary, a group of pediatric ophthalmologists perform the screening, and if warranted, call for a retina specialist, experienced with babies, to help. For example, where I work, the pediatric eye doctors screen the newborns at Florida Hospital and Winnie Palmer Hospital, and if there is concern, can call me to further evaluate the baby.
At both Florida Hospital and Winnie Palmer Hospital, the retina exams are performed at the bedside, and the retina specialist, such as myself, feel very comfortable and experienced with some of the challenges of examining such tiny babies. In some cases, I may just recommend very careful follow up exams, but if there are sufficient changes (we will talk about that later), then I may recommend surgery.
At both Winnie Palmer Hospital and Florida Hospital, the family is integral to the care of the baby; as such, I make every effort to keep you, the parents, informed as to what is going on.
Parents are often stretched out and pulled in many directions, so I frequently will give you my personal cell phone number to reach me at your convenience. As a parent of three little boys myself, I try to put myself in your shoes– and do whatever I can to ease your stress.
In the next section we will talk a little more about how retinopathy of prematurity is graded, and what that means for treatment and prognosis.