Retinopathy of Prematurity: A Serious but Treatable Disease
Babies born very prematurely—earlier than about 32 to 34 weeks—require special medical attention and care in almost every respect. Not everyone is aware that the serious eye disease called retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is also among these medical concerns.
Here are some basic facts and observations on ROP:
- Retinopathy of prematurity was first identified and described in the early 1940s, and it was originally called retrolental fibroplasia.
- Each year in the United States, approximately 14,000-16,000 premature infants are affected by ROP. As many as 600 of these children may become legally blind.
- The great majority of babies who develop ROP improve without treatment, but more severe cases have serious consequences including retinal detachment and blindness.
- Proper screening and diagnosis includes classifying each ROP case according to five stages of severity.
- Generally speaking, experts agree that the lower a premature baby's birth weight, the greater that child's risk for developing ROP. Any child weighing less than about three pounds at birth should be evaluated and monitored.
- The greatest period of risk for development of ROP is believed to be from 30 to 42 weeks after conception.
- An infant's risk for developing ROP may be increased by a range of factors, including oxygen administration or other serious illnesses.
- Once ROP is identified in a premature infant, frequent and diligent monitoring by a qualified ophthalmologist is usually necessary.
- The exact causes of ROP have not been pinpointed. However, medical research is active and ongoing, and newer treatments including laser therapy have proven effective in many cases.
- Juries in various U.S. locations have returned sizeable verdicts to compensate medical wrongdoing in ROP cases. In a 2008 Lee County, Florida, case, attorneys at Freidin - Dobrinsky, along with co-counsel, obtained a $38 million award for twin boys and their parents.
Nationwide, Call 800-815-6232 To Discuss Legal Action in Your Case
We encourage you to explore this Web site for more information on ROP. If your family or someone you know has suffered the devastating misfortune of having an infant suffer vision loss due to ROP, please contact our knowledgeable Miami, Florida, area lawyers.
We offer a free consultation, and you will not incur fees or costs unless we ultimately recover damages in your case.