Microphthalmia is the most common reason for children coming to see us. It is a developmental disorder of the eye that literally means small eye. This can occur in one or both eyes. There are numerous reasons why this could occur, it could be congenital or spontaneous.
The treatment for microphthalmia involves fitting a series of clear shells over the microphthalmic eye to encourage the growth of the orbit and keep the symmetry of the face. Once we have found a shape that is comfortable and opens up the eye lids, we will look at putting in an iris and making up a cosmetic lens.
In some cases the child may have some sight in the eye. Although there are tests to determine the condition of the retina, there is no real way of telling exactly how much sight they have until they are old enough to verbalise it. If there is a chance that there is any sight, even if there is just light perception, when it comes to making a cosmetic lens we will use clear pupils to allow the light to come in. Below is a photo of a young girl who we have done this for.
There is a yahoo chat group set up especially for people with microphthalmia and anophthalmia: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/microphthalmia/
If you are a parent with a baby born with Microphthalmia there is a fantastic support website designed especially for parents – www.wonderbaby.org/maps