Comm Eye Health Vol. 10 No. 22 1997 pp 26. Published online 01 June 1997.

Glossary for retinopathy of prematurity

Susan M Stevens, DD Murray McGavin

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ACIDOSIS: the accumulation of acid or reduction of alkaline reserve in the blood and body tissues, characterised by an increase in hydrogen ion concentration

AMINOPHYLLINE: a drug used to dilate the bronchioles of the lung

APNOEA: absence of breathing; stopping breathing

ARRHYTHMIAS: irregular heart beats

ARTERIAL TORTUOSITY: arteries with turns and twists

AVASCULAR: absence of blood vessels

AVASCULAR PERIPHERAL RETINA: the outer areas of the retina without blood vessels

BRADYCARDIA: slowing of the heart rate

CARDIAC ARREST: sudden stopping of the heart beat

CEREBRAL PALSY: damage to the brain, resulting in motor nerve and sometimes mental disorders

CRYOTHERAPY: treatment by freezing

CYANOTIC HEART DISEASE: disease or abnormality of the heart associated with blue discolouration of the skin and mucous membranes

DEMARCATION: a recognised line between two structures or body tissues

EXTRARETINAL FIBROVASCULAR PROLIFERATION: new growth of fibrous tissue and blood vessels in front of (but outside of) the retina

FUNNEL-SHAPED: shaped like a funnel (a circular, narrowing tube)

GESTATIONAL AGE: the age of the unborn child since conception (the beginning of pregnancy)

HYALINE MEMBRANE DISEASE: see Respiratory Distress Syndrome

HYPHAEMA: blood in the anterior chamber of the eye

HYPEROXIA: excess of oxygen

HYPERTENSIVE ENCEPHALOPATHY: disturbance of the brain due to high blood pressure

HYPOXIA: the reduction of oxygen supply below normal levels

ILEUS: loss of bowel motility

INTRAVENTRICULAR HAEMMORHAGE: haemorrhage into the ventricle of the brain

ISCHAEMIA: reduced (poor) blood supply to a body tissue

LENSECTOMY: surgical removal of the lens using vitrectomy equipment

LOW pH: the pH is a measurement of acidity/alkalinity; low pH is more acidic and has increased hydrogen ion concentration

MACULA: the central retina (the area which sees most precisely)

MORBIDITY: a diseased condition or state

MORTALITY: (in this context) fatalities or death

MYOPIA: ‘short sight’ or near-sightedness

NEONATAL: newborn

NEONATOLOGIST: a medical specialist for disorders of the newborn child ORA SERRATA: the irregular anterior edge of the retina

PARAMETERS: measurable characteristics or features

PATHOGENESIS: the beginning and development of disease within body tissues

PERITOMY: surgical incision of the conjunctiva around the cornea

POST-CONCEPTUAL/CONCEPTIONAL: after conception (beginning of pregnancy)

POSTERIOR POLAR VASCULAR DILATATION: widening of the lumens of central retinal blood vessels

POST-MENSTRUAL: since the last menstrual period

PREMATURITY: an underdeveloped newborn child with low birth weight

PRETERM NEONATES: babies born before the recognised normal length (time) for a pregnancy.

PROGRESSIVE VASCULAR INCOMPETENCE: worsening leakage of blood and blood elements from blood vessels

PUPILLARY RIGIDITY: immobility (lack of movement) of the pupil

RESPIRATORY DISTRESS SYNDROME: abnormalities affecting the lungs of premature babies resulting in breathing difficulties

RETINAL PERIPHERY: the outer areas of the retina

RETINOPATHY: disease or abnormality of the retina

RETROLENTAL FIBROPLASIA: growth of fibrous tissue behind the lens

RETROSPECTIVE: looking back; applies to something which has already happened

RIDGE: a raised line or linear outgrowth

SCLERAL DEPRESSION: planned indentation (pushing in) of the sclera in order to examine the peripheral retina

SEPSIS: infection in the blood or body tissues

SPONTANEOUS REGRESSION: going back to the previous (original) state without medical intervention


SUPPLEMENTAL OXYGEN: providing an extra supply of oxygen

SURVIVAL: continuing to live (or survive)

TUNICA VASCULOSA LENTIS: blood vessels forming a network around the developing lens in the foetus (unborn child); a normal stage of development

VASCULARISATION: the development of blood vessels within a body tissue

VASOPROLIFERATION: new growth (and outgrowth) of blood vessels

VENTILATORY SUPPORT: mechanical help with breathing

VITRECTOMY: surgical removal of the vitreous gel

VITREOUS HAZE: diffuse cloudiness (lack of transparency) within the vitreous gel