5 Stages of ROP (Retinopathy of Prematurity)
When babies are born prematurely, they are risked developing an eye disease known as retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). This condition occurs when blood vessels in the retina grow abnormally. While ROP can be mild, it can lead to severe vision loss and even blindness if not properly treated.
It can have severe consequences when doctors fail to screen for ROP and provide the appropriate treatment. If your child has experienced vision loss due to negligence, the Shapiro Law Group will fight to ensure that the responsible parties are held accountable.
What Causes ROP?
Retina blood vessels begin to develop during the fourth month of pregnancy. When a baby is born early, it can lead to abnormal blood vessel growth. These blood vessels can grow in the wrong direction, which can eventually cause the eye to detach from the retina. Blood vessels may swell or overgrow, leading to retinal bleeding and scarring.
Typically, babies are at risk for ROP when born before week 31 of pregnancy and weigh 2.75 pounds or less. The risk for ROP increases if a baby receives assisted ventilation for more than 1 week or has a high blood transfusion volume. It is recommended that all premature babies are screened for ROP.
While ROP can lead to vision loss, it is usually preventable with screenings and treatment. It is generally recommended that premature babies receive an eye exam at 4 to 9 weeks and up to 4 additional follow-up exams. If your doctor failed to provide vision screenings and follow-ups or did not provide treatment when needed, they may have committed medical malpractice.
The 5 Stages of ROP
There is 5 retinopathy of prematurity stages, ranging from mild to severe. These stages are:
Stage 1: Babies in this stage have minor blood vessel growth abnormalities. At this stage, many babies recover from ROP and go on to have healthy vision.
Stage 2: This stage involves moderate blood vessel growth abnormalities. While babies at this stage frequently recover without treatment, regular vision screenings are recommended.
Stage 3: Babies in this stage experience severe retinal abnormalities. Some recover, but others may need treatment to prevent retinal detachment or disease.
Stage 4: At this stage, retinas have partially detached. Treatment is necessary to prevent further damage.
Stage 5: This stage occurs when the retina has fully detached. Even with treatment, babies may experience significant vision loss and blindness.
A baby’s condition can worsen at any stage, which is why newborns need to receive regular follow-up exams. The best way to prevent serious damage is to catch and treat ROP as soon as possible. Current ROP protocol recommends a minimum of 4 follow-up screenings.
How Is ROP Treated?
Babies with ROP do not always need medical treatment, but treatment may be necessary if abnormal blood vessels have begun to pull on the retina. Some of the most common treatments used for ROP include:
- Laser surgery
- Scleral buckle surgery
- Anti-vascular endothelial growth factor medications
The appropriate treatments can slow down or stop abnormal blood vessel growth, preventing further damage to the retina. Some treatments may lead to a loss of peripheral vision, but can prevent central vision loss. ROP can worsen quickly, which is why regular monitoring is essential.
How a Birth Injury Lawyer Tampa FL Can Help
While ROP is treatable, severe vision loss and blindness may occur when healthcare providers fail to provide the appropriate treatment. This can lead to high medical costs and other financial challenges. A Florida birth injury attorney will work to recover some of the damages you have sustained, such as past and future medical expenses, disability costs, lost wages, and more.
To recover damages, you will need to prove negligence. A lawyer can collect medical records, talk to witnesses, and gather additional evidence that will help support your claim. It is not always easy to win a birth injury case, but an experienced lawyer can fight to collect all the compensation that you are owed.
Birth injuries like ROP can be devastating, but the Shapiro Law Group can support you during this difficult time. Hospitals have significant resources, but we will use our knowledge and expertise to ensure that all liable parties are held responsible. Call us today at (800) 258-HELP for a free case evaluation.