Q: How common is Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP)?
If you have a baby with ROP, you may be wondering if this condition is rare or if there are many more babies like yours out there. Don't worry—you're not alone.
ROP primarily affects premature babies that are born before 31 weeks of gestation and weigh less than 2 3/4 pounds. The smaller a baby is, the more likely it is to develop ROP. If your child was not premature and developed ROP, then that is extremely uncommon. However, if your child was premature, ROP is actually very common. According to the National Eye Institute, about 3.9 million babies are born every year in the United States; of those, about 28,000 weigh 2 3/4 pounds or less. There are some conflicting statistics, but of those 28,000 babies, it is thought that anywhere from 50–80 percent of them develop some form of ROP.
As alarming as this sounds, about 90 percent of babies with ROP fall into the mild category. Children with mild ROP usually will not need treatment and will eventually beat the condition on their own. About 1,000–1,500 babies will develop ROP severe enough for medical treatment and about 400–600 infants in the U.S. become legally blind every year because of ROP.
Though this can be disheartening for some parents, it's important to know that research is being done into ROP and medical professionals are looking for ways to decrease these numbers. ROP was not actually discovered until 1942, so this is still a fairly new condition to the medical community.
If your child developed a serious form of ROP because of a medical professional's negligence in Texas, Oklahoma or Arkansas, contact The Girards Law Firm today for a free consultation at 888-333-9709.