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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- 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
Bring these forms for your first appointment:
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- Patient Presents Without Legal Guardian (PDF)
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Note: A parent or legal guardian must be with a child for a first visit.
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Eye doctors at Nemours Children's Specialty Care, Jacksonville (who also see patients at Nemours Children’s Specialty Care, Fleming Island), have developed a single-use sterile exam kit for performing retinopathy exams. This kit, now used in 31 states and 60 Neonatal Intensive Care Units across the country, makes retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) testing safer and lessens the chance of infection.
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.
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At Nemours, we recognize the importance of the family in the care and healing process. We understand that no one knows your child better than you do — and that you’re one of the most important members of your child’s care team. That’s why we make every effort to include you in the process and to create a close relationship built on mutual respect, collaboration and education.
To ensure everyone is on the same page (including your primary care provider or pediatrician) your entire medical care team has access to our award-winning electronic health record system that keeps track of every visit, every test result and every procedure at Nemours.
And you can access select parts of your child’s health record through MyNemours, our secure portal that allows you to interact with your care providers and request prescription refills online, anytime.