What Are the Possible Birth Defects in a Baby’s Eyes?

A possible birth defect of a baby’s eyes is known to be anophthalmia and microphthalmia. These conditions develop during pregnancy. There are instances where anophthalmia or microphthalmia occurs alone or it comes along with other birth defects as a part of a syndrome.

Microphthalmia is a birth defect where one or both eyes did not fully develop which resulted in small eyes while anophthalmia makes the baby to be born without one or both eyes. Microphthalmia and anophthalmia can result in blindness or limited vision. The researchers estimated 1 in every 5,200 babies is born in the United States with anophthalmia or microphthalmia.

Parents are worried about the causes of anophthalmia and microphthalmia among infants. The cause is unknown but some babies have a change in their genes or chromosomes which is why anophthalmia or microphthalmia occurs. Taking medicines such as isotretinoin or thalidomide during pregnancy can lead to birth defects including anophthalmia and microphthalmia.

It is important to know the factors that contribute to birth defects to know more about the causes. CDC funded Centers for Birth Defects Research and Prevention which collaborates with large studies to understand and know the causes and risk factors for birth defects including microphthalmia and anophthalmia. As the study continues, it is important to collaborate with your doctor if you are pregnant to keep your baby healthy.

Is It Possible to Diagnose Birth Defects During Pregnancy?

baby with eye birth defect

Birth defects such as anophthalmia and microphthalmia can be diagnosed during pregnancy or after delivery. During pregnancy, the doctors can identify microphthalmia and anophthalmia using ultrasound, CT scan, or genetic testing. The birth defects can also be identified after birth by examining the baby. A physical exam will be performed to detect any present birth defects.

Is There a Treatment for Anophthalmia and Microphthalmia?

child with missing eye

There is no treatment for individuals affected by anophthalmia or microphthalmia which can create a new eye or will restore vision. Parents need to bring their baby to an ophthalmologist, ocularist, and oculoplastic surgeon. An ocularist can help in making and fitting prosthetic eyes while an oculoplastic surgeon can perform surgery for eye and eye socket.

If the birth defects only affect one eye, an ophthalmologist will suggest ways to protect and preserve healthy eyesight. Your child may need surgery depending on the severity of anophthalmia and microphthalmia. Talking to a team of eye specialists will help in determining the best plan of action according to the situation of the baby.

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