By Dr. Asmita Devre.

Ten lil fingers, ten lil toes. Bright baby eyes and cute baby nose. This precious soul is so sweet and new. This lil life, our dream come true!

We all welcome our newborn to the world with joy and happiness. Many are completely healthy and live normal lives but few new born babies require special care and extra support.

A pregnancy normally lasts for about 40 weeks, but a baby born before 37 weeks is known as premature or pre-term baby. Such babies may not be fully developed at birth. They can have respiratory problems, cardiac problems, feeding problems, jaundice; there is a litany of problems including eyes.

Retinopathy of prematurity is most common eye problem in preterm babies. The retinal manifestation of this potentially eye blinding disorder primarily affects premature infants weighing less than 1.5 kg and /or gestational age of 32 weeks .It is also associated with excessive oxygen during the early weeks of a premature life. Scientists believe that premature exposure to oxygen (which is needed for other organs to grow properly outside the womb) makes blood vessels in the retina grow too quickly, causing scarring, bleeding and retinal detachment.

Retinopathy of prematurity is treatable. In this condition prophylaxis plays most important role .preterm babies between 32-36 weeks post-conception should be screened with indirect ophthalmoscope , The timing of follow up examinations are based on retinal examination findings .spontaneous resolution occurs in high percentage of patients. in more severe cases photocoagulation ,  intra vitreal anti VEGF injections and surgical treatment like lens sparing vitrectomies are  available ,Myopia, strabismus and amblyopia occur more often in children with severe ROP. Visual rehabilitation is essential to maximize visual development and quality of life.

So don’t scare because it was too early , your preterm baby’s  health is in your hand , get an regular checkup done by Ophthalmologist who is experienced in the examination of preterm infants for ROP .