Type of disease: Rare conditions

Cryptophthalmos is a rare congenital (present at birth) condition in which the skin grows continuously over the individual’s eyeball resulting in the absence of eyelids. There are three types of cryptophthalmos: complete, incomplete, and symblepharon. The complete type is the most common of the three in which the skin grows from the forehead all the way down to the cheeks. The eye globe underneath is usually abnormal. The incomplete and symblepharon types occur when only a part of the skin around the eye is fused in differing locations with some portion of the eyelid present. Cryptophthalmos is usually bilateral, meaning it occurs in both eyes. Cryptophthalmos is usually associated with other birth defects such as mental impairment, ear and dental abnormalities, syndactyly (fused fingers or toes), and nasal and lip anomalies. It can also be seen as part of several genetic conditions including Fraser syndrome (please also visit Fraser syndrome.). Surgical reconstruction or separation of the eyelids is usually required and corneal transplant is done under certain circumstances to allow for the development of vision. If your baby has been diagnosed with cryptophthalmos, talk with your pediatrician about the most current treatment options.

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