News » Overcoming Challenges to detect retinopathy of prematurity

Overcoming Challenges to detect retinopathy of prematurity

Defined in the past "retrolental fibroplasia", retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a retinal vascular disease, potentially blinding, that primarily affects premature infants weighing about 1250 grams, or less.
These are primarily those born before 31 weeks of gestation, while a full-term pregnancy is a routine pregnancy equal to 38-42 weeks.
The more a child is small at birth, the more likely it will develop retinopathy of prematurity.
This disorder, which usually develops in both eyes, although it may have different degrees, is one of the most common causes of visual loss in childhood and can lead to vision problems for a lifetime or even blindness. The ROP was diagnosed for the first time in 1942.

Causes and symptoms of retinopathy of prematurity
Retinopathy of prematurity is caused by the formation of new blood vessels in the retinal periphery, due to prematurity and low body weight of the child at birth.
In particular, this condition can be determined to which dall\'ossigenoterapia premature they are subjected.
However, it is not excluded that it may also be the result of infections, any apnea crisis, transfusions. The most common symptoms can be represented by the presence of a white reflex (leucocoria) which, however, can be observed only in the more advanced stages and serious.
It is very important therefore that all born prematurely are subject to frequent visits and a careful examination of the fundus, during the first weeks of life, so you can diagnose, in the shortest possible time, the signs of the disease and intervene so promptly. The evolution of the disease is, in fact, very rapid and can lead to total retinal detachment, and, therefore, the consequent blindness.

Phases and steps in the progression of retinopathy of prematurity
Generally, the retinopathy of prematurity is characterized by five stages, ranging from the mild stage (stage I) to more severe (stage V):

• 1st stage: slightly abnormal growth of blood vessels;
• 2nd stage: moderately abnormal growth of blood vessels;
• 3rd stage: severely abnormal blood vessel growth. At this point, again, the treatment has a good chance of preventing retinal detachment;
• 4th stage: partial detachment of the retina. The severely abnormal blood vessel growth tends to detach the retina from the eye wall;
• 5th stage: complete detachment of the retina. And \'the terminal phase of the disease. If the eye is not treated with appropriate therapies for these conditions your child may have serious eye problems with risk of blindness.
Most children who develop retinopathy of prematurity have stage I or II.
However, for a small number of children, the ROP can get worse, sometimes very quickly.
If not properly treated POR threatens to destroy the vision.

What treatments are available?
There are currently no therapeutic protocols established by the scientific community, which require treatment in the stadium because of retinopathy of prematurity.
In the initial stages the treatments are mainly carried out with laser or criotrattamento of the retina. In the later stages, however, it becomes necessary to surgically intervene with vitrectomy or surgery of retinal detachment.

As we understand, we are dealing with a very delicate and serious disease, difficult to diagnose, especially in view of the age of the child.
The Board therefore remains, for all parents that we have recently experienced an early pregnancy to subject the small, periodic eye exams from the first weeks of life of the same.

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