Retinopathy of Prematurity

Premature babies can face a number of health problems. One of the more common is called retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), where abnormal blood vessels grow in the retina. Babies who require any kind of treatment for ROP will need regular, long-term follow-up care. You can count on us to be with you every step of the way and to provide recommendations for any vision-related services your child may need.

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Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington

1600 Rockland Road
Wilmington, DE 19803
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For Appointments: (302) 651-4200

 
What to Bring
  • photo ID
  • medical and pharmacy insurance cards
  • preferred pharmacy name and phone number
  • names and dosage of all medications, including over-the-counter medication, your child is currently taking
  • guardianship and custody papers, if a legal guardian rather than a parent accompanies your child
New Patients

Bring these forms for your first appointment:

Returning Patients
 
Forms & Resources
New Patient Forms
Returning Patient Forms
Resources for Patients & Families

Team members in the Division of Pediatric Ophthalmology at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children have published medical journal articles reviewing new guidelines on ROP screening and treatment, recent advances in therapies, and effective laser treatment options.

The results of your baby’s first eye exam will determine the need and frequency of follow-up examinations. ROP is usually diagnosed according to stages that describe how far the blood vessels have grown into the retina.

Some cases of ROP are mild and correct themselves, but others require surgery to prevent vision reduction or blindness. Surgery involves using a laser or other means to stop the growth of the abnormal blood vessels, the goal being to prevent the vessels from pulling on and detaching the retina.

Because there are varying degrees of ROP, the surgical approach used can differ for each case. We will discuss your baby’s condition with you and which method we recommend.

The most frequently used method of ROP surgery is laser surgery, in which small laser beams are used to scar the peripheral retina (also called laser therapy or photocoagulation). This procedure lasts about 30 to 45 minutes for each eye.

For more-advanced cases of ROP where retinal detachment has occurred, these methods are used:
  • scleral buckling: Involves placing a flexible band, usually made of silicone, around the circumference of the eye.
  • vitrectomy: A complex surgery that involves replacing the vitreous, or the clear gel in the center of the eye, with a saline (salt) solution.

Learn more about Nemours' pediatric eye surgery and procedures