While developing within the embryo, the child’s eyes begin to form, which is an incredibly sensitive process. Because this process is so delicate, congenital abnormalities affecting the eyes may arise.
What types of eye conditions are related to poor development in children?
Developmental abnormalities in children lead to poor vision and include eye conditions such as microphthalmia, coloboma and optic nerve hypoplasia.
Microphthalmia is a congenital abnormality that affects the size of one or both eyes, resulting in a very "small eye.”
Coloboma is a congenital disability that occurs when a tract of vital tissue along the eye is missing. The initial three months of pregnancy are essential for the baby's growth. At this stage, a choroidal fissure (gap) forms beneath the stalks that make up the eye. Normally, at seven weeks, the fissure closes. If the fissure does not close, this tract cavity forms.
Optic nerve hypoplasia happens when the optic nerve is not formed fully at birth. The optic nerve has an essential function as it acts as a transmitter for messages from the retina’s membrane lining to the brain. Optic nerve hypoplasia affects the eye movements and leads to nystagmus.
How do we treat developmental abnormalities that affect the eye?
Although we cannot cure a congenital disability like microphthalmia, there are procedures to correct conditions that occur alongside it (such as ptosis, coloboma and cataract) to improve vision and minimise further complications.
“Vision is the true creative rhythm”
- Robert Delaunay