Comm Eye Health Vol. 31 No. 101 2018 pp S35. Published online 11 July 2018.

Key community eye health messages

Related content

Babies born before 36 weeks (preterm) are at risk of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP)

Premature infant in special care baby unit bed
  • The more preterm they are, the greater the risk
  • Poor neonatal care increases the risk, even in less premature babies

It is possible to prevent ROP from causing visual impairment and blindness. This requires:

  • High quality neonatal care. If there is not enough equipment to safely deliver and monitor oxygen, this must be strongly advocated for
  • Screening: All babies at risk must be screened before 30 days after birth
  • Treatment: Laser treatment should be given urgently, with confluent spots
  • Follow-up: All children born preterm are at risk of visual impairment and must be followed up by an ophthalmologist and/or optometrist

Parents are important members of the eye care and neonatal team

  • Involve parents in the day-to-day care of the baby and encourage kangaroo care
  • Keep parents informed of the need for screening and the results of screening, and the need for urgent treatment, if required
  • Ensure parents understand the need for follow-up visits