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Premature baby 

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 future. 

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. 

Symptoms -

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 

Precaution -

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.

Management -

Consists of




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.


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 opacity.

It could be 'inside' the eye.

White appearance of pupil is called as Leukocoria.

The common causes of Leukocoria are -


I suggest an Urgent Ophthalmic Exam. All these should be diagnosed as early as possible.



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