What is microphthalmia and anophthalmia?

Microphthalmia and anophthalmia is where one or both of a baby's eyes didn't grow properly or at all. Anophthalmia (which means no eye) is where no eye or eyes grow at all. It will just look as if the eyelids are closed. Microphthalmia which means (small eye) is where the eye or eyes do not grow to full size, so are smaller than normal. The eye can also be cloudy or completely white and the pupil may be oddly shaped.

Children with anophthalmia may be given an artificial eye or eyes called a 'prosthesis' which looks like a normal eye or eyes.

Most cases of microphthalmia and anophthalmia occur by chance and the cause is not known. However, it may be caused by changes in a babies genes which means the eye didn't form properly. Occasionally, other parts of the face and mouth may also not grow correctly too.

Further advice and support for microphthalmia and anophthalmia can be found on the Microphthalmia, Anophthalmia & Coloboma Support (MACS) website.

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