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Babies born prematurely need this important eye test

Babies born prematurely are at risk for developing retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). ROP affects the developing retina and is caused when abnormal vessels start to grow which can lead to retinal detachment. The condition typically develops in both eyes and is one of the most common causes of vision loss in children. Almost 15,000 newborns in the United States are diagnosed every year. Babies who have ROP are at a higher risk for developing other eye problems throughout their lives such as retinal detachment, lazy eye, crossed eyes or glaucoma. Early detection of ROP is critical in treating and controlling the condition. A new digital imaging device called the RetCam helps doctors to see changes in the eyes before it's too late. It is an easier alternative to use than the traditional opthalmoscopy and can be used by nurses and technicians. The RetCam not only aids doctors in managing patients clinically but also helps doctors educate families in understanding what is going on with their babies' vision. Elise Ervin Staff Writer

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