By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network
Retinopathy of Prematurity can cause partial or total blindness in premature infants / babies. Because it is a well known complication with premature births, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Opthalmology along with the American Association of Pediatric Opthalmology recommend screening of all babies born prior to 32 weeks or weighing less than 3.5 pounds. Many hospitals lack doctors who specialize in ROP diagnosis and treatment. Even hospitals with a neonatal unit lack an experienced doctor specializing in ROP. Based on this shortage, guidelines for screening should be followed to screen for ROP and provide timely and consistent treatment to attempt to prevent serious permanent eye injuries to premature infants.
Remote screening is one way to deal with the absence of a ROP specialist at the hospital. The Ret Cam is a valuable tool that takes a digital image of the child’s eyes. A neonatologist, who does not necessarily specialize in ROP, can direct the imaging and then send them off via computer / internet to a ROP specialist for review, diagnosis, and treatment recommendations.
Time is of the essence in diagnosing and treating ROP. Otherwise, a child can be permanently blinded as a result of delay and inattention. You can read more about recommendations for screening at American Academy of Pediatrics and Other Organizations Recommend Guidelines for Screening of ROP.