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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 203-211

Management of retinopathy of prematurity in a neonatal unit: Current approach

1 Department of Neonatology, Women's Wellness and Research Centre, Hamad Medical Corporation; Department of Pediatrics, Weill Cornell Medical College, Doha, Qatar
2 Department of Ophthalmology, Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar
3 Department of Neonatology, Women's Wellness and Research Centre, Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Hussain Parappil
Department of Neonatology, Women's Wellness and Research Centre, Hamad Medical Corporation, PB. No 3050, Doha
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jcn.JCN_102_18

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Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a blinding morbidity affecting preterm infants. It currently represents the leading preventable cause of childhood blindness worldwide. Most data indicate an increasing incidence of ROP disease in both industrialized countries and in the developing world. There are neither symptoms of ROP nor can a specific visual behavior in a preterm infant herald a concern for ROP. Hence, an effective screening is essential for prompt diagnosis of ROP. The available evidence suggests that the majority of premature infants who go blind from ROP do so due to screening failure. Timely screening of premature infants at risk is as important as early treatment in the management of ROP. The screening protocol at each neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) should be evidence-based, should be based on preferences of neonatologists, ophthalmologists, and NICU nurses. All at-risk infants should be identified and receive adequate dilated retinal examinations at appropriate times. Appropriate screening and follow-up guidelines and timely treatment protocols need to be implemented in every NICU by pediatricians and ophthalmologists to reduce the ROP-related blindness in the community. The ultimate goals of treatment of ROP are prevention of retinal detachment or scarring and optimization of visual outcome. The standard treatment involves ablation of peripheral avascular retina preferably by indirect retinal laser photocoagulation when the ROP progresses to a stage which needs intervention since vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGF) are known to play a major role in ROP pathogenesis and its progression, injection of anti-VEGF drugs intravitreally has been found to be effective in arresting the ROP disease process. This newer emerging pharmacotherapeutic option has the potential to improve treatment outcomes.

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