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Microphthalmia and Anophthalmia


Overview :

Anophthalmia is caused by a defect in embryonic development. The total absence of an eye is extremely rare and often a clinical sign associated with a broad range of genetic disorders or, more commonly, a sporadic mutation. Sporadic transmission occurs in the affected individual due to a genetic abnormality. It is not passed on from the parents, but usually due to a combination of environmental and genetic influences. More commonly anophthalmia clinically presents as a small cyst. The defect, which causes anophthalmia, is an absence of the optic vesicle, a structure important for eye development. The genetic abnormality usually occurs during weeks one to three after conception. It is estimated that the incidence of microphthalmia occurs 0.22 times per 1,000 live births. Anophthalmia can occur during adult life but not associated with a genetic cause.

Microphthalmia refers to an abnormally small eye. This clinical sign is often associated with autosomal dominant or recessively transmitted genetic disorders. Most disorders dominantly inherited with microphthalmia are associated with some visual capabilities in infancy and early childhood. Microphthalmia may be isolated (the only presenting sign) or associated with a range of ocular or systemic abnormalities. Isolated cases of microphthalmia may be sporadic or inherited. There is a variable degree of visual impairment. Microphthalmia occurs due to autosomal recessive transmission and is part of a syndrome associated with abnormalities in the retina or systemic lesions. Microphthalmia results from a developmental defect after formation of the optic vesicle. The developmental abnormality causes the optic vesicle to fold inwards, resulting in the formation of a cyst. The cyst will progressively swell from birth, and it may be situated along the optic nerve. The cyst may also be situated along other important eye structures.




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