Researchers in Sweden have recently discovered that babies born extremely premature are up to 19 times more at risk of experiencing retinal detachment. Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) affects a small number of premature infants. This condition involves a growth of abnormal blood vessels on the retina. Occasionally, in local cases, these abnormal blood vessels shrink without treatment by an Orlando ophthalmologist; however, in cases where the vessels continue to grow, serious eye problems can develop.

An increase of blood flow in the eye can cause the vitreous to tug at the retina, creating a retinal tear. This on its own can cause blurred or obscured vision.  If fluids pass through the tear, the retina can actually detach, causing blindness if not treated surgically by an Orlando ophthalmologist. Retinal detachment may go unnoticed by adult sufferers; however, it can easily be identified during annual eye exams. In contrast, more specialized visual screenings for infants are needed to determine if retinal detachment has occurred. Consulting with a medical specialist will help you to understand how infant retinal detachment can be treated.


Medical researchers noted more cases of retinal detachments in infants born prior to 32 weeks gestation, allowing them to correlate preterm births with retinal issues. Other common traits found in premature babies with retinal detachment include; low birth weight, low blood pressure and heart rate, heart problems, and respiratory issues. Eye development continues in infants, even after birth; therefore, retinal detachment can happen at any time. Stress, exposure to light, and trauma may also impact the integrity of the bond between the eyeball and the retina in the first few weeks of life.

Babies born weeks in advance of their expected due dates are more prone to experiencing retinopathy, retinal detachment and other visual developmental issues. Premature infants are also at a higher risk of experiencing childhood vision loss and blindness. A screening program for ROP was put in place in 1987, reducing the risk for retinal detachment to nine percent in premature babies.

ROP is a serious eye condition solely found in preterm infants. Babies treated for ROP are less likely to have serious eye related conditions during childhood, but their risk of complication will be increased, from birth until adulthood. Surgical options usually provide ROP patients with the highest success rates in infants suffering from retinal detachment. Physicians urge that you have your infant screened for ROP by an Orlando ophthalmologist if he or she was born at less than 30 weeks gestation.