A birth abnormality where the eye did not complete its development thus resulting in an abnormally small eye.
A birth abnormality where there is complete absence of the eyeball.
Congenital microphthalmos or congenital anophthalmos can be unilateral (one eye) or bilateral (both eyes). The child is referred to the ocularist by a pediatric ophthalmologist.
Depending upon the severity of the birth abnormality, it is often necessary to expand the eye socket(s) by the use of custom made conformers to enable the artificial eye to be fitted. If this is required, the child is usually placed under a general anesthetic at Children's Hospital for an impression to be made of the eye socket. The general anesthetic is usually only required for the initial conformer. The custom acrylic conformer is fabricated based upon the shape obtained from the impression and is fitted in the ocularist's office with the child awake.
Several weeks later a larger conformer replaces the previous one. This helps to initiate the expansion process of the eye socket and is continued until the eye socket is of sufficient size to accommodate a custom-made eye prosthesis. It is preferred to see the child as young as possible to start the expansion process. Two months of age is fairly common. The time taken to expand the eye socket for the provision of the prosthesis is very much an individual matter; however, it may be as short as two months or as long as one year or more.
Microphthalmos and anophthalmia are rare congenital abnormalities. Resources on this subject are limited; however, a parental support group is available at MAPS (Microphthalmia Anophthalmia Parent Support) at www.maparentsupport.com. Some information regarding this condition is also accessible through www.anophthalima.org or by calling 1-800-580-ICAN.