Liu Peihua, a woman in Guangzhou, China, gave birth on Sept. 20 to a baby who has no eyes.
The Chinese media has dubbed the boy “the baby with no eyes,” reports the Daily Mail.
This birth defect is known as anophthalmia, which the National Eye Institute defines as “the absence of one or both eyes.”
The NEI gives an explanation of the condition and its causes:
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Causes of these conditions may include genetic mutations and abnormal chromosomes. Researchers also believe that environmental factors, such as exposure to X-rays, chemicals, drugs, pesticides, toxins, radiation, or viruses, increase the risk of anophthalmia ... but research is not conclusive.
Although there is no treatment that will give the child vision, “children can be fitted for a prosthetic (artificial) eye for cosmetic purposes and to promote socket growth,” the NEI notes.
NEI notes that fitting a baby with prosthetic eyes is a complicated process:
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A newborn with anophthalmia … will need to visit several eye care professionals, including those who specialize in pediatrics, vitreoretinal disease, orbital and oculoplastic surgery, ophthalmic genetics, and prosthetic devices for the eye…. The specialist in prosthetic diseases for the eye will make conformers, plastic structures that help support the face and encourage the eye socket to grow. As the face develops, new conformers will need to be made. A child with anophthalmia may also need to use expanders in addition to conformers to further enlarge the eye socket. Once the face is fully developed, prosthetic eyes can be made and placed.”
Britain's National Health Service reports the condition affects only 1 in 100,000 children born in the U.K.
No abnormalities were detected during the pregnancy, the mother's family said. Conventional testing, including ultrasounds, cannot detect anophthalmia. The baby has been transferred to larger hospital for tests to determine whether he has other health issues.
Liu Peihua’s was reportedly devastated when she learned about her son's condition, but she is determined to overcome the obstacles of raising him. In the meantime, “the baby without eyes” is behaving like a typical newborn, moving normally and crying for food.