Premature Infants: Retinopathy of Prematurity

Layout 1Premature infants and their eye issues are another specialty of Dr. Wasserman. Thanks to the incredible, rapid technological advances in neonatal care, ever-growing numbers of the smallest premature infants survive the critical first weeks of life. As more of these babies survive, so has the incidence of a vision-threatening eye disease called retinopathy of prematurity or ROP.Retinopathy Treatment The disease usually develops in these infants a few weeks after birth. ROP affects very low birth weight premature babies, usually less than 1,500 grams (about 3 lbs) since they are born prior to the complete develpment of the retina. The immature retinal blood vessels may grow abnormally during the first months. If the abnormal blood vessel growth becomes severe and is not treated, it may eventually result in retinal detachment and total blindness.Dr. Wasserman is a much sought after specialist in the area of ROP. He routinely examines the premature babies in the hospital neonatal intensive care units. Rapid progression of ROP demands rapid intervention, and Dr. Wasserman is skilled in the evaluation of the disease. He regularly examines the babies in the neonatal ICU at UMDNJ-Cooper University Hospital in Camden, NJ and St. Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ. He also sees many infants in the office for necessary follow up visits after discharge from the hospital. Should an infant progress to the dangerous threshold ROP, treatment is required, and Dr. Wasserman will perform laser surgery. The surgery can save the infant from a lifetime of blindness.These infants also require long term follow up. They are at increased risk for developing strabismus, (wandering, crossed, misaligned eyes), glaucoma, amblyopia, retinal detachment and significant refractive errors that can impair their visual development. Dr. Wasserman stays involved with the parents to ensure these children their best chance for good vision into adulthood.

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