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During this exam, an eye doctor (ophthalmologist) examines the interior of the eyes through a special lens. The doctor checks for any damaged blood vessels in the retina. The retina is a light-sensitive layer of tissue on the back of the inside of the eye.
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Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a rare condition that occurs in the eyes of infants who:
- Are born prematurely
- Are born with a low birth weight
With this condition, the blood vessels of the retina grow abnormally. This can lead to bleeding and scarring in the retina. ROP usually heals by itself. Most infants do not require treatment. In a small number of cases, ROP may cause vision loss or blindness. This exam is done to determine if the infant has ROP and, if so, what type of treatment would be the best option.
Your infant may need eye drops during the exam. Your doctor will discuss the complications that may be caused by eye drops, such as:
- Stinging or discomfort in the eye
- Light sensitivity
- Blurred vision
- Lid swelling
- Red eyes
Be sure to discuss these risks with the doctor before the eye exam.
Call Your Doctor
After arriving home, contact the doctor if any of the following occurs in your infant:
- Discharge from the eye
- Redness or swelling
- Loss of vision or other eyesight changes
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Nausea or vomiting
- Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
- Any new symptoms
If you think you have an emergency, CALL 911.