What is Anophthalmia?

Anophthalmia is a medical term used to illustrate the absence of the globe and ocular tissue from the orbit. This was initially reported more than 400 years ago, yet it is only recently that cogent reconstructive options became available.

Anophthalmia can be present at birth or acquired later on in life. Congenital anophthalmia can occur alone or with other birth defects. Cases of Anophthalmia might lead to inherited genetic mutations, sporadic genetic mutations, chromosome abnormalities, prenatal environmental insult or other unknown events. Primary anophthalmos is very rare. Only when there is complete absence of the ocular tissue within the orbit can the diagnosis of true anophthalmos be made. Extreme microphthalmos is seen more commonly. In this condition, a very small globe is present within the orbital soft tissue, which is not visible on initial examination.

There are three classifications for this condition

Primary Anophthalmia

The complete absence of eye tissue due to a failure of the part of the brain that forms the eye.

Secondary Anophthalmia

The eye starts to develop and for some reason stops, leaving the infant with only residual eye tissue or extremely small eyes which can only be seen under close examination.

Degenerative Anophthalmia

The eye started to form and, for some reason, degenerated. One reason for this occurring could be a lack of blood supply to the eye.

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