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Retrolental Fibroplasia

Retrolental Fibroplasia Causes

Retrolental fibroplasia is believed to be a consequence of the disorganized growth of retinal blood vessels which may lead to a scarring or detachment of the retina. All premature babies have a predisposition to this disease. In addition, very low birth weight is another risk factor. Oxygen toxicity and relative hypoxia may also contribute to the development of retrolental fibroplasias.

Retrolental Fibroplasia Definition

Also known as retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), retrolental fibroplasia (RLF), is an eye disease that primarily affects prematurely born babies.

Retrolental Fibroplasia Diagnosis

Examining a preterm baby's retina is done to determine the zone (i.e. how far the retinal blood vessels have grown) and the stage (i.e. whether or not the vessels are growing flat along the walls of the eye) of the disease. Pupillary dilation may be induced using eye drops, followed by retinal examination using an indirect ophthalmoscope (a special lighted instrument). The retina's peripheral areas are then pushed into view using scleral depression.

Retrolental Fibroplasia Symptoms and Signs

Retrolental fibroplasias may be mild and resolve spontaneously. However, in serious cases, it can lead to blindness. Common symptoms of retrolental fibroplasias in preterm infants are visual disturbance, retinal detachment, absent papillary light reflexes, potential blindness, dilated or twisted eye vessels, opaque retrolental eye membrane, retinal edema, and retinal hemorrhages.

Retrolental Fibroplasia Treatment

Retinal fibroplasia may be treated through peripheral retinal ablation, wherein the avascular retina is destroyed using a solid state laser photocoagulation device. Vitrectomy surgery and/or scleral buckling may be advised for severe cases (usually in stage 4 and 5) that progress to retinal detachment. Another therapeutic measure is the intravitreal injection of bevacizumab (Avastin), which controls the aggressive posterior retinopathy of prematurity.

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