Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 241–246 | Cite as

Retinopathy of prematurity

  • E. Bossi
  • F. Koerner
Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care


This review deals with retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), a disease characterized by retinovitreal neovascularization, eventually retinal detachment and blindness. Due to the increasing number of extremely premature newborns, it is becoming more frequent. ROP of all stages occurs in 25–35% of surviving premature newborns of gestational age up to approximately 35 weeks. Stages 3 or more occur in 5–10%, blindness in 3–5% of very immature babies. The incidence is inversely related to gestational age. Classification is internationally unified (ICROP) and describes 5 stages. Its pathogenesis has not yet been clarified. More or less proven risk factors are retinovascular immaturity, hyperoxia and possibly circulatory and respiratory instability. Prophylaxis consists in avoiding hyperoxia, and probably also in keeping the extremely premature newborn stable. Ophthalmologic examinations must be performed by ophthalmologists experienced in this field or under their direct responsibility and must be standardized. Treatment of ROP can be carried out at a certain stage by coagulation therapy.

Key words

Retinopathy of prematurity 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Bossi
    • 1
  • F. Koerner
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Neonatology, Department of PediatricsUniversitäts-KinderklinikBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of OphthalmologyUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland

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