How is retinopathy of prematurity diagnosed?
An eye doctor can usually diagnose Retinopathy of Prematurity during an examination. All babies who are born at least 8 weeks early or weigh less than 1500 grammes (less than about three pounds) need to be examined every 2 weeks. Examinations should start 6 weeks after the child is born. Examinations can stop when the blood supply to the retina has near fully grown. This is usually a couple of weeks before the date the baby was supposed to be due. About half an hour before the examination a nurse will usually place drops in the baby’s eyes. The drops will make the pupils go bigger. This lets the eye doctor see all of the back of the eye. By looking into the eye using a special lens and torch the retina can be seen. The eye doctor can say how much of the retina does not yet have a blood supply. They can also see if any scarring or retinal detachment has started. Based on the examination the eye doctor can decide if any treatment is needed.