Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP)
Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a problem affecting the eyes of premature babies. It happens most often in babies born at or before 30 weeks’ gestation or weighing less than 1500g. As the immature retina continues to develop after premature birth, abnormal blood vessels can grow around the edges; in severe cases, the retina can detach from the eye.
About 1 out of 10 infants with ROP will develop more severe retinal disease. Severe ROP may lead to significant vision problems or blindness.
Symptoms of severe ROP include:
- Severe nearsightedness
- White-looking pupils (leukocoria)
- Abnormal eye movements
- Crossed eyes
All babies whose birth weight is less than three pounds should be tested for ROP.
Many Risk Factors for ROP
Babies who are premature are at the highest risk for developing ROP, but other risk factors include:
- respiratory distress (e.g., neonatal respiratory distress syndrome)
- apnea (a brief gap in the baby’s breathing)
- receiving a transfusion
- low blood oxygen
- slow heart rate (bradycardia)
- heart disease
- high carbon dioxide in the blood
- low blood acidity
The Expected Standard of Medical Care
Even if your baby was born at full term, if the delivery team did not handle one or more of these risk factors in a manner that is up to the expected standard of medical care, your child’s ROP may have been due to medical malpractice.
ROP is one of the most common reasons for vision loss in childhood: about 15,000 infants are affected by ROP and 500 babies become legally blind from ROP each year in the U.S. A preventable loss of vision makes it even more tragic.
The Shapiro Law Group Can Help You
If your baby has ROP, you probably have many questions and concerns. As a law firm with extensive experience with ROP, the Shapiro Law Group stands ready to assist you and represent you if necessary. Contact us online today to arrange a private consultation.