Microphthalmia – Baby Born With Small Eye

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.

Before and After


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


  1. Avatar for Gayatri Gayatri on September 10, 2014 at 12:58 am

    Good one, nice


  2. Avatar for Terri Terri on April 3, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    My granddaughter was born on Sunday 27th March with what seems to be one eye and the other eyelid has been very hard to open and doctors think it looks like there may not be an eyeball as the eye lid is quite recessed. We have been told we have to wait 4-6 weeks to see a specialist at the Royal children’s hospital yet our local doctor here in Leongatha would like something to happen sooner. Don’t know if you can help or not but would greatly appreciate any information you could provide. PS Tears come out the eye that won’t open but we are concerned she maybe getting an infection in that eye. Regards Terri

    • Avatar for Kavitha Kavitha on June 10, 2017 at 8:48 pm

      Please give me suggestions bcos we too had same problem for my child.

  3. Avatar for Rob Rob on August 25, 2016 at 9:27 am

    Did you find any assistance? I lost my eye in 2014 and am researching now to see if there are any organizations that help with prosthetic eye costs.

  4. Avatar for spiwe nyika spiwe nyika on January 5, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    my baby was born with both eyes small. i am from Zimbabwe and there is no medical solution for her condition. is there anywhere i can get assistance for my baby girl

  5. Avatar for Michelle Michelle on January 19, 2017 at 12:35 am

    Is a scleral shell the best solution for an adult? I was born with microphthalmia. I got a shell to cover my eye. However, as I age, the shell just was not fitting anymore. So does this mean my eye was growing? How often do I need to get a new one? Now that I am older, I just want to have something that will always fit in my eye. Right now, it bulges out a bit and causing sagginess underneath the lid.

    • Avatar for Paul Geelen Paul Geelen on May 4, 2017 at 9:18 pm

      Hello Michelle. The treatment for microphthalmia involves fitting scleral lenses to put positive pressure on the soft tissue surrounding and the bony orbit. As you grow the eye may grow however it will not grow back to the same size as the other eye. The reason the shell is not fitting as well is the changes in the surrounding tissue and the orbit. As you grow and your face is growing the scleral lenses will need to be made larger. As an adult the socket will continue to change shape and you will probably require a new scleral lens every 5 years or so.

  6. Avatar for Prativa nepal Prativa nepal on May 8, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    Hi i got a baby boy on feb 28 and his one eye is small. I am worry about that. There is any solution to keep the both eye same. Thank you

  7. Avatar for Kaila Pugh Kaila Pugh on July 26, 2017 at 11:15 am

    I was born with micrphrhalmia and I was told if I got something to make my look the same size as the other I would lose the little vision I already have in my eye. Is this is true?

    • Avatar for Paul Geelen Paul Geelen on July 26, 2017 at 11:33 am

      Hello Kaila,
      There are a couple of options that may help you.
      You could fit a transparent scleral lens over the small eye which would fill out the volume of the socket.
      Alternatively you could have a prosthesis made with a transparent pupil.
      I hope this helps. Regards Paul

  8. Avatar for Charmaine Charmaine on November 2, 2017 at 11:33 pm

    My 17 year old daughter was born with microphalmia she now wears a +9 lenses am worried she might loose her sight eventually what can be done

  9. Avatar for Catherin Catherin on January 26, 2018 at 10:41 pm

    My premature baby has also eye like this his left eye is small the black eyeball is un even. I’m wirried if the eye specialist could solve the eye of my baby.

  10. Avatar for Erica S Johnson Erica S Johnson on March 7, 2018 at 7:58 am

    Hello. I’ve heard slightly that there is a surgery that can be down to push the eyeball forward so the two fill the same capacity. Is there fact to this? Thank you for your time.

  11. Avatar for Diana Diana on May 9, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    Hey I love your site I’m currently researching microphthalmos as part of my masters of disability (majoring I n vision impairment) and your information is so user-friendly thank you

  12. Avatar for Michelle Michelle on August 27, 2020 at 8:39 am

    Hello my daughter was born with left eye cataract as well as microphtalmia. She wears a lens to compensate for her lense as it was removed in cataract surgery. Can these cosmetic lenses be an option to be added to her high power lens? Thanks

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