Anophthalmos

Labelled Diagram of the Eye

Labelled diagram of the structure of the retina

Anophthalmos is the medical term for congenital (i.e. from birth) absence of an eye.

Both eyes, or just one eye, may be affected.


There are three classifications of anophthalmos:

  • Primary Anophthalmia is a complete absence of eye tissue due to a failure of the part of the brain that forms the eye. This is extremely rare.
  • Secondary Anophthalmia refers to the situation when the eye started to develop and then for some reason ceased development - resulting in only residual eye tissue or very tiny eyes that can only be seen under close examination. This is less rare than "Primary Anophthalmia".
  • Degenerative Anophthalmia refers to the situation when the eye started to form and then for some reason degenerated, e.g. due to lack of blood supply to the developing eye.

There is no known cure for anophthalmos but treatment may involve use of prosthetic eyes fitted to the empty eye sockets both for cosmetic purposes, and also to help promote growth of the eye socket.

More about Ophthalmology:

This section includes short definitions of many diseases, disorders, and conditions of the eyes and visual system.
For definitions of other terms in this category, choose from the list to the left (but note that this is not a complete/exhaustive list).

Other related pages include

For further information see also our pages of books about ophthalmology.

The following books may also be of interest:

The Aging Eye (Harvard Medical School)
MCQ Companion to the Eye (Textbook)
The Secret of Perfect Vision: How You Can Prevent and Reverse Nearsightedness
What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About(TM) Glaucoma: The Essential Treatments and Advances That Could Save Your Sight

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