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The Third International Symposium on Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) was convened with the aim of cross fertilizing the horizons of basic and clinical scientists with an interest in the pathogenesis and management of infants with ROP. Ten speakers in the clinical sciences and ten speakers in the basic sciences were recruited on the basis of their research to provide state of the art talks. The meeting was held November 9, 2003 immediately prior to the American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting; scholarships were provided for outreach to developing countries and young investigators. This review contain the summaries of the 20 platform presentations prepared by the authors and the abstracts of presented posters. Each author was asked to encapsulate the current state of understanding, identify areas of controversy, and make recommendations for future research. The basic science presentations included insights into the development of the human retinal vasculature, animal models for ROP, growth factors that affect normal development and ROP, and promising new therapeutic approaches to treating ROP like VEGF targeting, inhibition of proteases, stem cells, ribozymes to silence genes, and gene therapy to deliver antiangiogenic agents. The clinical presentations included new insights into oxygen management, updates on the CRYO-ROP and ETROP studies, visual function in childhood following ROP, the neural retina in ROP, screening for ROP, management of stage 3 and 4 ROP, ROP in the third world, and the complications of ROP in adult life. The meeting resulted in a penetrating exchange between clinicians and basic scientists, which provided great insights for conference attendees. The effect of preterm delivery on the normal cross-talk of neuroretinal and retinal vascular development is a fertile ground for discovering new understanding of the processes involved both in normal development and in retinal neovascular disorders. The meeting also suggested promising potential therapeutic interventions on the horizon for ROP.