Brielle Garrison, a baby recently born in Florida, suffers from anophthalmia, which is a disorder that results in the absence of ocular tissue. According to Dr. Manny Alvarez, who specializes in high-risk pregnancies and serves as consultant to the Fox TV station who reported on Brielle, “The condition can usually be diagnosed by ultrasound – around 18 weeks. The condition can be associated with other birth defects as well, including abnormal brain development.”
Causes of anophthalmia may include genetic mutations and abnormal chromosomes, according to the National Institutes of Health. Researchers also believe that environmental factors, such as exposure to X-rays, chemicals, drugs or viruses may increase the risk, but research is not conclusive.
Brielle has a long road ahead of her and will have to have several surgeries so that her face does not become deformed. There is no treatment for severe anophthalmia, however she can be fitted with an artificial eye for cosmetic purposes and to promote socket growth, the NIH said. In a recent study in England, one in 10,000 newborns was found to have anopthalmia.