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Baby Born Without Eyes In Arizona Has Rare Condition Called Anophthalmia

When a Richie Lopez was born three months ago in Mesa, Arizona, his parents did not think much of the fact that he did not open his eyes at first. They soon discovered that the reason his eyelids would not open was because he was born without eyes, a very rare condition called anophthalmia.

Staff at Banner Desert Medical Center initially thought Richie’s face was merely swollen when he was born. Richie’s mother, Kelley, who had a normal pregnancy with ultrasounds that found no problems, became worried when Richie failed to open his eyes. An MRI scan 13 days after his birth found that he was born without eyes, according to KTLA.

The Lopez family is hopeful that science will eventually progress to the point that it will help Richie see at some point in his life. Scans show that Richie does have an optic nerve.

[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Kelley Lopez” author_title=”Baby’s mother”]

I do hold out hope. I know that researchers are testing it and doing what they can, but I do hope that, one day, they’ll be able to grow an eye or transplant an eye.


The three-month-old boy has had surgery to be fitted with expanders in his eye sockets, which will allow them to grow enough to hold prosthetic eyes in the future. Richie currently has just one expander in place. Both had fallen out after he rubbed his eyes, and his mother was only able to place one back in.

Richie has been enrolled in programs for blind babies and wears special sunglasses. Another child was born without eyes last year in Denver, according to USA Today.

Anophthalmia is a very rare condition in which a child may be born without one or both eyes. The term may be used interchangeably with microphthalmia (small eyes), as CT and MRI scans often show remnants of either the eye or surrounding tissue, according to the Daily Mail.

The prevalence of anophthalmia is estimated at 1 in 10,000 births. The cause of the condition is unknown, but it is most likely due to a disruption in the developmental sequence that occurs when the eyes form during pregnancy. The condition may be due to inherited or sporadic genetic mutations, chromosome abnormalities, environmental issues or an unknown cause.

There is no treatment to restore vision to children affected by anophthalmia. Most wear prosthetic eyes.

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