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Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) in Children: Care Instructions

Anatomy of the eye.


Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is an eye problem that can affect babies who are born early (premature). It is common in babies born at or before 30 weeks. It's also common in babies who weigh less than 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds).

After premature birth, the retina keeps forming. Sometimes, abnormal blood vessels grow around the edges. In severe cases, the retina detaches from the eye.

Most of the time, the eye heals itself. In that case, the baby doesn't need treatment. If the problem is more severe, the doctor may do surgery or may inject medicine into the eye.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Take your child to all of their doctor appointments. This is very important. Babies with ROP are more likely to have other eye problems in the future.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if your child has any problems.

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.