A Baby born
before 37 weeks is called as premature. The survival rate of
premature babies has improved. We are seeing more and more premature
babies growing into healthy children and successful adults.
But since they
are born before they are due, their development is not fully complete.
Therefore they face special problems of their own in early life. In the eye, one of the
vital problem may come up in the retina.
If one knows about this, a watchful eye can be kept by the parents and the
doctors so as to detect problems early, and improve the child's
Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP)
The blood vessels
in the retinal periphery develop from 24- 34 weeks. Many premature babies may
have immature blood vessels. The premature
babies generally require to be given oxygen at birth. Their delicate blood
vessels are exposed to high oxygen concentration. This causes abnormal growth of the retinal blood vessels.
This abnormal blood vessel growth and the associated scarring causes the retina to be
pulled up and thus loss of vision.
Leukocoria - means white pupil.
There is abnormal retinal blood vessel growth, retinal
detachment and scarring. If it
is limited, only the periphery may be affected and vision may not suffer very
badly, but in full-blown cases, the whole retina is scarred and detached, and
visual outcome is poor.
Other causes of Leukocoria
Examination of all premature babies by an ophthalmologist or retinal
specialist. This helps in early detection, and if treated early, the outcome
may be better.
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Persistent Hyperplastic Primary Vitreous (PHPV).
There are blood vessels that run from the retina to the
lens during the intrauterine period (i.e. before birth). These are supposed to
disappear during 8-9 th month of pregnancy. Sometimes these abnormal blood
vessels persist, causing PHPV. With advanced PHPV, there is a cataract and pupil
appears white - Leukocoria.
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I have noticed something
white shining in my baby's eye. What should I do?
If the white spot is on cornea, it could be corneal infection or corneal
It could be 'inside' the eye.
White appearance of pupil is called as Leukocoria.
The common causes of Leukocoria are -