Baby Born With No Eyeballs

Expanders are sutured into his eye sockets so that one day he may get a transplant
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2015 8:23 AM CST
At 13 days of age, an MRI explained why Richie Lopez had yet to open his eyes.   (3TV.com screenshot)

(Newser) – When Kelly Lopez gave birth to a baby boy three months ago in Mesa, Ariz., she didn't think much of the fact that her newborn wasn't opening his eyes until hours went by. By 13 days of age, Richie Lopez had an MRI, and the family was shocked to learn he had no eyeballs beneath those closed lids. Doctors say he does have an optic nerve, giving hope that he might someday see, so for now doctors sutured expanders into his eye sockets to allow them to grow and perhaps eventually hold prosthetic eyes, reports KTV3. Richie has since lost one of the expanders.

"I think we were just in shock," Lopez says. "Obviously very upsetting. The first thought through your mind is, how did this even happen and how was it not even caught?" Lopez says she had a normal pregnancy, and the family has enrolled Richie in programs for blind babies and outfitted him with baby sunglasses. Another baby was born without eyes last year in Denver, Colo., and diagnosed with a rare birth defect called Anophthalmia, reports UPI. The Centers for Disease Control describe it as a total absence of eye tissue or apparent absence of the globe. "I do hope that one day that they'll be able to either grow an eye or transplant an eye," Lopez adds. (This boy going blind has made a bucket list of sights to take in first.)

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