This health video shows that an early detection of an eye disease can help prevent long term damage or blindness.
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Jennifer Mathews: Twins Grace and Ryan see clearly now, but when they were born 11 weeks early, the blood vessels on their retinas stopped developing. It's a condition called Retinopathy of Prematurity or ROP. Amy May: If left untreated, there's a possibility they could be blind in one or both eyes. Jennifer Mathews: Laser therapy can reduce the risk of blindness in those premature eyes. But that treatment has risks. Doctors often wait until the growing blood vessels become a direct threat to an infant's sight before using lasers. David Wallace: More and more of us began to believe that infants might benefit from treating with laser earlier and not waiting until threshold disease occurred. Jennifer Mathews: A new study backs them up, showing that earlier treatment leads to fewer cases of blindness. David Wallace: We now have a better idea about the appropriate time for treatment and will feel better about intervening at the right time, resulting in less blindness down the road. Jennifer Mathews: Grace and Ryan's parents put them in the early treatment study, even though their risk of blindness was low. Amy May: That wasn't a risk we wanted to take. We'd rather go ahead and try doing treatment rather than letting it go. Jennifer Mathews: They knew the laser treatment could cost their twins some peripheral vision. Amy May: But losing a little peripheral vision is nothing compared to going completely blind. Jennifer Mathews: A case of better sight than sorry. This is Jennifer Mathews reporting.