Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) is an eye disorder that has the potential to cause blindness. It primarily affects premature infants that weigh 2.75 pounds or less, and who have also been born before 31 weeks of gestation. The smaller a baby is, the greater the chances that the baby will develop ROP. This disorder generally develops in both eyes and is one of the most common causes of vision loss in children. It can lead to lifelong vision impairment and blindness. This disease was first diagnosed and identified in 1942.
Due to the advances in neonatal care, smaller and more premature infants are being saved and given a chance at life. Unfortunately, these infants are at a much higher risk for developing ROP. It is important to keep in mind that not all babies who are born prematurely will develop ROP.
There are roughly 4 million babies born in the United States each year. Of those 4 million, approximately 28,000 weigh 2.75 pounds or less. Of those 28,000, between 14,000 and 16,000 will ultimately develop ROP to some degree.
In mild cases, the disease improves and leaves no permanent damage. 90% of all infants with ROP are in the mild category and do not even need treatment. The infants who develop ROP to a more severe degree can end up with impaired vision or even blindness.
There are some treatments available. These end up destroying some periphery vision in an effort to preserve the straight-ahead vision that is so crucial to our everyday lives. The treatments are only performed on babies with severe ROP.
If your baby has developed ROP as a result of a doctor’s error, contact the Lake Geneva medical malpractice lawyers of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® at 1-800-275-1729 to discuss your situation and to determine your legal options.