A mild case of retinopathy of prematurity can heal on its own, but it should be evaluated by a doctor regardless. Even in mild cases, the affected child may be required to undergo repeated routine examinations. A physician who specializes in diseases of the eye will likely monitor the child until the growth of their ocular blood vessels has matured to safe levels.
Some moderate cases of retinopathy of prematurity may heal with minimal medical intervention. Serious to severe cases of retinopathy of prematurity may require treatment, and early diagnosis can lead to a more favorable outcome.
According to Merck Manual, 20% to 40% of children whose birth weight is under two pounds may have retinopathy of prematurity in its more severe forms. Another 4% may have cases severe enough to cause retinal detachment with loss of vision by the time the child reaches its first birthday.
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Potential Eye Injury or Vision Loss Due to Retinopathy of Prematurity
Retinopathy of prematurity can occur in varying stages. These stages are based on the severity of the initial diagnosis and help determine treatment plans and anticipate prognosis. Prompt diagnosis and strategic management may also play a role in treatment goals. Retinopathy of prematurity stages include:
- Stages I and 2: mild to moderate blood vessel abnormalities that may self-correct with monitoring and support
- Stage 3: severe blood vessel growth that may require invasive treatment
- Stage 4: partial retinal detachment that may result in additional full detachment or eventual blindness if not treated properly
- Stage 5: retinal detachment that may lead to total vision loss without treatment
Retinopathy of prematurity typically affects premature infants, so the best way to avoid this harmful diagnosis is with effective prenatal care that takes precautions to avoid premature birth when possible.
You might be entitled to financial compensation if your baby was born prematurely and was not screened for retinopathy of prematurity. You might also be eligible if they were screened but did not receive the appropriate treatment after a diagnosis was made.
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Your Child May Require One of These Treatments
The treatment your son or daughter receives may depend on the severity of their condition and the stage of their retinopathy of prematurity. If your child’s retinopathy of prematurity is severe enough to warrant treatment, they may receive:
- Surgery: this may include invasive surgical procedures that either burn or freeze the peripheral areas of the retina to stop damaging blood vessel growth.
- Scleral buckle: this technique involves using a specialized band to reattach the retina.
- Vitrectomy: this removes the vitreous substance from your baby’s eye and substitutes it with saline solution.
The cost of these treatments may be recoverable through a birth injury lawsuit. A lawyer in your area might be able to help you build an effective case file, prove medical negligence, and negotiate a favorable settlement. Your lawyer may also be able to help you recoup any financial losses your family experiences as well as compensation for physical and emotional pain and suffering.
Your Ability to Seek Compensation May Be Limited
Every state in the U.S. has a predetermined timeline—or statute of limitations—for filing medical malpractice lawsuits. Your state may have additional rules that let you toll the statute of limitations for a birth injury case. The best way to understand the timeline that applies to your potential lawsuit is to consult a local birth injury lawyer familiar with the laws in your state.
A delay in seeking compensation might be costly because attempting to file your lawsuit late might mean you cannot file it at all. It may also mean your lawsuit will be thrown out of court before it can ever be heard. Early intervention by a birth injury law firm might help preserve your right to seek compensation through the court if you cannot reach a timely settlement agreement.
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Contact the Birth Injury Lawyers Group for a Free Consultation
While in some cases retinopathy of prematurity can heal on its own, every case still requires prompt and ongoing medical care and monitoring. If medical negligence caused your child’s retinopathy of prematurity or allowed it to get worse, you might be entitled to fight for compensation on their behalf.
Get help in your pursuit of compensation by calling the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today at (800) 222-9529. A member of our team will take your call and provide you with a free case review. If we believe your family may be entitled to financial recovery for an injury to your child, our legal team is committed to helping you pursue it.