Causes of Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP)

Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a condition in which abnormal blood vessel growth in a baby's eyes causes scarring in ocular tissues, vision impairment and, in the worst cases, blindness.

Infants most likely to develop retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) include those who experience:

  • bleeding in the brain
  • concurrent ailments
  • high carbon dioxide levels in the body
  • irregular breathing when sleeping (apnea)
  • low birth weights (born less than 3.3 pounds)
  • low levels of iron in the blood (anemia)
  • mechanical ventilation treatment
  • premature birth (born less than 32 weeks into pregnancy)
  • seizures
  • slow heart rate (bradycardia)
  • undergoing blood transfusions

Additionally, a pregnant mother's condition and/or behavior may increase the likelihood that newborns develop retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). Maternal factors include:

  • heavy smoking during pregnancy
  • gestational diabetes
  • preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy)

How Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) Develops

The last 12 weeks of pregnancy are a vital time for the development of eye nerves and tissues. So, when babies are born prematurely, their ocular blood vessel growth progresses abnormally and/or stops altogether.

In some cases, a disruption in the development of eye tissue will cause the body to start producing scar tissue within the eyes. If this scar tissue contracts, it can detach the retina from the eye's inner tissues, resulting in retinopathy of prematurity.

Other causes of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) can include:

  • exposure to pure oxygen or toxins following birth
  • inadequate levels of oxygen during pregnancy
  • slow or delayed fetal development in the uterus

Medical Mistakes that Cause Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP)

Tragically, healthcare professionals can make mistakes that cause or worsen a baby's case of retinopathy of prematurity. Possible malpractice contributing to retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) may include (but aren't limited to):

  • exposing newborns to toxins
  • failing to provide necessary eye exams to high risk infants
  • failing to diagnose ROP when symptoms of this condition are clearly present
  • failing to promptly or adequately treat retinopathy of prematurity (ROP)
  • using of oxygen therapy excessively or improperly following birth

In these cases, families will be entitled to compensation for their infant's:

  • past hospital bills
  • ongoing treatment costs
  • permanent disabilities
  • future costs of living (if a permanent disability prevents an ROP patient from earning a living)
  • pain and suffering.

Winning a Retinopathy of Prematurity Lawsuit

Upon a definitive retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) diagnosis, treatment will need to begin immediately to prevent the condition from worsening and babies from becoming blind.

Once an infant's health is stable and treatment has begun, it's also essential that families set up a free initial consultation with an ROP attorney. Along with evaluating families' claims, ROP lawyers will also give clients expert advice regarding the best way in which to pursue their claim.

To encourage injured parties to stand up for their legal rights, retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) attorneys will delay payment for legal services until a settlement is won.

Has your baby been diagnosed with ROP? If so, schedule your Free Consultation with a retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) lawyer today who will help you get lifetime benefits for your injured child.