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Retinopathy of Prematurity: Practical Approaches to Prevent Blindness

Explore the strategies to prevent and treat retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) with this online course for healthcare professionals.

3,039 enrolled on this course

Nurse holding a very preterm baby in a neonatal intensive care unit, India
  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    5 hours
  • Accreditation

    AvailableMore info

Learn how the screening of ROP can help manage and prevent vision loss in babies

Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) affects babies born preterm, before 37 weeks of gestation. Over 15 million babies worldwide are born prematurely each year, and it’s estimated over 20,000 of them will become blind from ROP.

On this course, you will learn how a practical team approach needs to be aligned across neonatal care and ROP screening, and treatment and follow-up healthcare services to help prevent blindness in preterm babies. You will also look at how the risk of ROP and the level of neonatal care can differ between high and low-income settings.

Image © The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust / Poulomi Basu

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Skip to 0 minutes and 11 seconds Every year 15 million babies are born preterm and approximately 32,000 of these babies will become blind or visually impaired. Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a retinal disease which affects preterm infants, that is, babies born before 37 weeks of gestation. These babies need very careful management or they are at risk of becoming visually impaired or blind. We’ve known about this for almost 70 years. We can’t prevent preterm births, largely because we don’t understand what causes preterm birth. We know that the rate of preterm birth is rising so almost every country that you look at there’s a steady rise in the rates over the past 20-30 years.

Skip to 0 minutes and 52 seconds The way that we should try and approach this problem is by multidisciplinary professionals working together as a team and those professionals include neonatal doctors, ophthalmologists and particularly neonatal nurses who are key to providing good care. This 4 week course is aimed at neonatal and eye health care teams around the world. We begin at the point of birth of preterm babies and consider how prematurity affects the development of their eyes and what is ROP? Screening and treatment for ROP involves both health providers and parents therefore a team approach is needed to continue to care for the vision needs of preterm babies long after they’re discharged. As more and more preterm babies survive we need to urgently raise awareness on ROP.

Skip to 1 minute and 50 seconds Increase the availability of human resources, especially the skills. Equip neonatal units and provide the essential resources so that ROP gets integrated into the countries health systems and sight threatening ROP is minimized in most of the country Screening babies for ROP is very important. Laser treatment for ROP is effective but only if the disease is detected early enough! Having good protocols, records and communications within the team and with parents is essential for effective treatment. There are many opportunities throughout this course to learn from experts and neonatal health care practitioners, to test your understanding of the key concepts, and to share your reflections with peers, educators and mentors. So join us!

What topics will you cover?

  • Epidemiology and risk factors of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) Classification of ROP
  • Public health approach for prevention of visual impairment from ROP
  • Reducing risk factors for ROP through quality of care within neonatal units
  • Team approach in the clinical care setting to ensure early detection and timely management
  • Implementing practical support and involving parents to ensure continued care and long term follow up

Who is this accredited by?

The CPD Certification Service
The CPD Certification Service:

This course has been certified by the CPD Certification Service as conforming to continuing professional development principles.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe the classification, epidemiology and risk factors of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP).
  • Assess and improve control strategies to prevent exposures to risk factors for ROP at birth and in the neonatal unit.
  • Evaluate the application of screening for prevention and early detection of ROP and models of service provision.
  • Explain the indications, methods of treatment and follow up for ROP.
  • Identify the importance of a team approach within the clinical care setting and developing continuous quality improvement strategies.
  • Reflect upon the importance of establishing clear documentation and communications for ROP management decisions with the neonatal and ophthalmic teams and with parents.
  • Evaluate and modify the protocols and models for involving parents in ROP management and long-term follow-up.

Who is the course for?

This course is for healthcare professionals such as obstetric and neonatal nurses, neonatologists, paediatricians, ophthalmologists and clinical officers.

Image © The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust / Poulomi Basu

Who will you learn with?

Assistant Professor in International Eye Health. Ophthalmologist and Educator, focusing on research and education to eliminate avoidable blindness. Academic lead for the Open education for Eye Health.

I am an ophthalmologist and have worked for 30 years in public health for eye care, focussing on low and middle income countries. My main interest is eye diseases in children, particularly ROP.

Who developed the course?

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is a world leader in research and postgraduate education in public and global health. Its mission is to improve health and health equity worldwide.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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