THE PARENT’S GUIDE TO RETINOPATHY OF PREMATURITY (ROP)

Posted by on July 20, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

When your infant is born prematurely, the joy of having a baby can be tempered by anxiety. Doctors may give you a long list of possible complications that come with an early birth, and it can be overwhelming to consider the ramifications of each. When Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) appears on the list, many new parents are alarmed. The condition isn’t well-known, and families wonder if their child will struggle with a lifetime of vision issues. Fortunately, an ROP diagnosis doesn’t necessarily mean complete loss of eyesight.

Is ROP a Common Eye Problem?

The first thing to know about ROP is that it is not particularly common. It primarily affects infants born before the 31st week of pregnancy, weighing 2.75 pounds or less. Of the 28,000 babies born in the US under these circumstances each year, just over half are impacted by ROP, and 90 percent of the children diagnosed with ROP have such mild cases that they need very little in terms of specialized eye care. Only about 1,500 premature babies develop ROP that is severe enough to require treatment each year, and of these, up to 600 become legally blind as the disease progresses.

What Is ROP?

Retinopathy of Prematurity

At the very back of the eye, there is a layer of tissue that performs several functions critical to vision. This layer, called the retina, contains cells that are sensitive to light. These cells receive the focused light that comes through the lens of the eye. The retina then sends messages about the light through the optic nerve to the brain, which then forms an image.

Retinopathy of Prematurity happens when the tiny blood vessels in and around the retina grow abnormally. They are quite fragile, making them prone to leaks. When the tiny blood vessels leak, the retina can be scarred, which – in unusual cases – pulls it out of position. In the most severe situations, the retina detaches altogether, causing vision problems and blindness. The condition is also sometimes referred to Terry syndrome, and was previously known as retrolental fibroplasia (RLF).

What Causes ROP?

Retinopathy of Prematurity was first diagnosed in the early 1940s, and there was a large group of premature babies who lost their vision to the condition in the late 1940s and early 1950s. At the time, physicians used high levels of oxygen in the care of premature infants. This specific risk factor has been addressed, and neonatal intensive care units have found a balance between supplying enough oxygen without risking the child’s vision. This has reduced the number of babies impacted by ROP, though other risk factors have not yet been completely eliminated. These include respiratory distress, blood transfusions, anemia and breathing difficulties in premature infants.

baby's eyes

What Are the Stages of ROP?

The likelihood of vision problems increases depending on the severity of your baby’s ROP. Each case is categorized into one of the following stages, ranging from mild to serious:

  • Stage I – Slight abnormal blood vessel growth is noted. This often improves without treatment, and there is no impact to vision.
  • Stage II – Moderate abnormal blood vessel growth is noted. Again, this often improves without treatment, and there is no impact to vision.
  • Stage III – Severely abnormal blood vessel growth is noted. While these cases can occasionally resolve without treatment, most eye care professionals recommend intervention to prevent retinal detachment. The outcome is often positive.
  • Stage IV – The retina has partially detached due to scarring. Treatment is critical to preserving vision.
  • Stage V – The retina has completely detached due to scarring. With or without treatment, blindness is a strong possibility.

Advances in ROP diagnosis and treatment have dramatically reduced the likelihood that ROP will cause permanent damage to your infant’s vision. With proper eye care, the progression of the disease can be stopped altogether.

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MAKEUP AND EYE ALLERGIES

Posted by on July 3, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

Eye Makeup

Many women attribute common symptoms such as puffy eyes to a lack of sleep or seasonal allergies, but they might be overlooking the real culprit: their makeup. When you have allergies to various ingredients in your favorite cosmetics, you could find yourself suffering over the long term. Read more: Makeup and Eye Allergies
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WHAT IS DIABETIC MACULAR EDEMA?

Posted by on June 21, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

Healthy Eyes

Diabetic Macular Edema: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

In order to be diagnosed with diabetic macular edema, you must first have diabetic retinopathy. This condition arises when the blood vessels in the eyes become damaged due to high blood sugar. With diabetic retinopathy, the retinal blood vessels change over time, becoming more abnormal in nature. If diabetes is not controlled, the vessels may start to leak fluid–one of the primary signs of DME. Read more: What is Diabetic Macular Edema

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KEEP YOUR AGING EYES IN SHAPE

Posted by on June 13, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

Cataracts in an older man

As you age, so do your eyes. It’s no secret that eyesight is one of those physical functions that tends to fail as the years go by — unless you take measures to minimize age-related threats to your eyes and vision. Let’s examine some smart eye care strategies that can help maintain your ocular well-being for many years to come. Read more: Keep Your Aging Eyes In Shape
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BEST FOODS FOR BETTER EYESIGHT

Posted by on June 7, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

Vegetables

With 25 million people worldwide suffering from eye problems that are age-related, it’s essential to care for your eyesight as you get older. While it’s obvious that a healthy diet is vital for promoting better an ideal weight and other body-related issues, does the food you eat directly affect your eyesight?

Are there certain foods we can eat more of to improve our eye health? Studies say yes. A diet rich in vitamins C and A and minerals like zinc are known to do wonders for your eyes. Read more: Best Foods for Better Eyesight

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SMOKING AND EYE HEALTH

Posted by on May 31, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

Woman smoking

Everyone knows that smoking is bad for you. There are countless reminders on television, billboards, and of course, the internet. We’re all aware of how much it can damage our bodies – that it affects the heart, lungs and other organs, that it can cause cancer, and even that it’s the leading preventable cause of death in the United States – and yet still, cigarettes fly off the shelves in convenience stores all across the country every single day.

What many people who smoke don’t realize how terrible it is for their eyes too. Read More: Smoking and Eye Health

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MAY IS HEALTHY VISION MONTH

Posted by on May 10, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

Blue eyes

Did you know May is healthy vision month? It’s an annual event organized by the National Eye Institute (NEI) to help educate the public and help promote awareness of eye health issues.

Because so many serious eye conditions present with little to no warning, it’s important to do everything you can to keep your eyes healthy. Here are a few tips to help you stay on top of your eye health: Read More: Healthy Vision Month

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BEST WAYS TO PREVENT CATARACTS

Posted by on May 1, 2017 · 1 Comment 

Prevent cataracts

Almost 40 million people are predicted to have cataracts by 2030, and the number is only going to rise after that. A cataract creates a cloud in the lens of your eye, and without a clear lens, your vision becomes blurry. In some cases, you can also develop a brown or yellow tint. Cataracts can get in the way of your everyday life, and your risk of getting one goes up after you reach 40 years of age. Some of the risk factors are out of your control, but you have a few ways to improve your chances of preventing cataracts completely. Read More: Best Ways To Prevent Cataracts
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SLEEPING WITH CONTACTS CAN HARM YOUR EYES – DID YOU KNOW?

Posted by on April 20, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

Contact Lenses

Your Kansas City eye doctor has urged you time and time again not to fall asleep without removing your contact lenses. You listened patiently and fully intended to take his advice. However, you were bone-tired one night, completely forgot you were wearing them, and the next morning realized you’d made a terrible mistake. Sound familiar?

Contacts are a savior for many people who engage in active lifestyles or those who simply do not like the look of glasses. While these corrective lenses come with many advantages, they can be detrimental to the health of your eyes if not used properly. Although it may seem harmless to sleep with your contacts in, you should heed your doctor’s warning and use your contact lenses exactly as prescribed. Read More: Why Sleeping With Contacts Can Harm Your Eyes

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HOW OLD SHOULD KIDS BE BEFORE WEARING CONTACT LENSES?

Posted by on April 12, 2017 · Leave a Comment 

Wearing contact lenses

“Mom! But I don’t want to wear glasses! The kids at school call me four-eyes!” Many parents have heard this argument, or a similar one, when debating with their kids about whether or not they’re old enough for contact lenses. Kids have various reasons to prefer them, but one of the most common is that they just don’t think eyeglasses look cool. They want to improve their appearance and not stand out so much from their peers.
Whether your child is interested in getting contact lenses because of schoolyard teasing or to improve athletic performance, there are a few things you should consider first: Read More: How Old Should Kids Be Before Wearing Contact Lenses?
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