Individuals can be born with either one or both small eyes, known as microphthalmia, or without one or both eyes, termed anophthalmia. These conditions might also coexist with other ocular disorders or medical issues in different parts of the body. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for these conditions.

Microphthalmia and anophthalmia are both inborn conditions that impact the eyes, falling under the category of congenital conditions, which are present from birth. Such conditions arising from fetal development issues are sometimes referred to as birth defects. Some individuals may refer to anophthalmia and microphthalmia as instances of “eye birth defects.”

Microphthalmia denotes an incomplete development of one or both eyes, resulting in their small and disorganized appearance. When both eyes are affected, it’s termed bilateral microphthalmia, while when only one eye is affected, it’s called unilateral microphthalmia. Other terms used for microphthalmia include small eye syndrome and microphthalmos.

Anophthalmia, on the other hand, signifies the absence of one or both eyes from birth. Bilateral anophthalmia refers to the absence of both eyes, while unilateral anophthalmia indicates the absence of a single eye.

Symptoms of

It is possible to determine if the patient has microphthalmia or anophthalmia through a thorough physical examination and comprehensive eye assessment. Indications of these conditions may encompass compromised vision or even complete vision loss. These ocular conditions may coexist with other eye-related problems and medical issues.

Additional ocular issues that might arise include:
– Cataracts: This occurs when a clouding forms on the eye’s lens, leading to diminished vision and muted colors.
– Coloboma: This term signifies the absence of tissue in the eye, often seen in the iris. A coloboma can result in an irregularly shaped pupil due to a notch or groove in the iris.
– Microcornea: A microcornea pertains to an abnormally small cornea. In individuals with this condition, the cornea’s diameter does not exceed 10 mm even in adulthood.
– Detached retina: This severe condition can lead to blindness. The retina, located at the back of the eye, becomes detached from its supporting tissue. The retina is responsible for transmitting signals to the brain for vision.
– Ptosis or pseudoptosis: Ptosis involves a drooping eyelid due to muscle and nerve involvement. Pseudoptosis may resemble ptosis, but its cause is an underdeveloped eyeball rather than nerve and muscle issues.


Causes of

The origins of anophthalmia or microphthalmia often elude medical professionals. These conditions might be attributed to the following factors:

1. Genetic alterations: In certain instances, anophthalmia or microphthalmia can arise due to genetic mutations occurring during pregnancy before the child is born. These genetic changes might also lead to the development of other congenital anomalies.

2. Medication use during pregnancy: The intake of specific medications while pregnant can potentially result in anophthalmia and microphthalmia. Notably, substances like isotretinoin (Accutane, utilized for severe acne treatment) and thalidomide (employed for certain skin issues and certain types of cancer) have been associated with these conditions.

3. Exposure to hazardous environmental factors: Contact with detrimental environmental agents could contribute to the onset of anophthalmia and microphthalmia. This encompasses exposure to elements such as X-rays, chemicals, drugs, pesticides, radiation, and viruses.

Researchers speculate that a blend of genetic predisposition and environmental factors, including harmful exposures, might contribute to the emergence of anophthalmia and microphthalmia.


Diagnostics of

The physician can identify these conditions either during the course of pregnancy or following the birth of the baby.

During pregnancy, medical professionals can employ the following tests to detect anophthalmia and microphthalmia:

– Ultrasound: This imaging technique provides insight into bodily structures.
– CT scan: This X-ray-based procedure can be used for examination.
– Genetic testing: Analysis of blood and other tissues is conducted to identify genetic disorders.

Subsequent to the baby’s birth, the doctor can diagnose anophthalmia or microphthalmia through a comprehensive examination.

Infants with anophthalmia or microphthalmia will require the expertise of a multidisciplinary medical team, which may consist of:

– Ophthalmologist: A specialized doctor focusing on visual and ocular care.
– Orbital and oculoplastic surgeon: A specialist skilled in performing surgeries to reconfigure the eye area and its surroundings.
– Ocularist: A professional trained to craft and appropriately fit prosthetic eyes.

Additionally, if your child is dealing with anophthalmia or microphthalmia, they will likely need to consult with other medical specialists as well.

Complications of

Anophthalmia and microphthalmia can lead to vision impairments and even blindness. Individuals afflicted by these conditions might also exhibit smaller eye sockets, which can influence the facial structure. Microphthalmia can additionally bring about other ocular issues such as coloboma (absence of normal eye tissue), cataract (cloudiness in the eye’s lens), and microcornea (reduced and abnormally curved front eye layer). Furthermore, those with anophthalmia or microphthalmia could experience birth defects that contribute to other health complications.

Treatment of

Medical professionals currently lack treatments that can generate a new eye or restore vision for individuals with anophthalmia or microphthalmia. Nevertheless, early intervention can still be beneficial for those affected. Babies and children with these conditions might require specialized devices like conformers to aid in the growth and development of the eye socket, and they might also wear prosthetic eyes to facilitate growth and alter appearance. Protective eyewear such as prescription eyeglasses or safety goggles may be necessary for infants with vision in only one eye to safeguard it from harm. For children with microphthalmia, using an eye patch on the stronger eye could help enhance vision in the smaller eye by compelling the brain to utilize it. Surgical procedures might be recommended to enlarge the eye socket, provide structural support, or better accommodate devices. Surgery might also be necessary to address other ocular issues, like cataracts. It’s crucial to engage in discussions with all of your child’s doctors to formulate the most suitable care plan. Additionally, babies with anophthalmia or microphthalmia require early intervention and therapy services to facilitate their growth and development.