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retinopathy of prematurity n.
Abnormal replacement of the sensory retina by fibrous tissue and blood vessels, occurring mainly in premature infants who are placed in a high-oxygen environment. Also called retrolental fibroplasia, Terry's syndrome.
disease in which retinal blood vessels develop abnormally in the eyes of premature infants. In mild forms of retinopathy of prematurity, developing blood vessels within the retina, which originate at the optic disk, stop growing toward the periphery of the retina for a period of time. Thereafter, the vessels usually resume their development without deleterious consequences. However, in severe forms of retinopathy of prematurity, the stalled blood vessels break through to the surface of the retina and proliferate extensively. These fragile tangles of blood vessels can break, bleed, scar, and pull on the underlying retina, causing complex retinal detachments and blindness.