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What Causes Aniridia and How is it Treated?

written by: AlyssaAst • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 12/14/2009

A rare congenital condition of the eye known as aniridia can cause serious vision complications. In order to correctly treat this condition you must know what causes aniridia.

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    What is Aniridia?

    Aniridia is a rare eye condition that is present at birth. This condition causes an abnormality to the formation of the iris. This causes the pupil of the eye to be exceptionally large and usually affects the person’s vision in one or both eyes. People with this condition have no iris or only a small portion of the iris remaining. This condition usually results in the inability to open or close the pupil of the eye due to lack of muscle. This causes the pupil to be unable to dilate and control the amount of light that enters the eye.

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    Eye Conditions

    “Optometry” By Icekitty37
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    What Causes Aniridia?

    Aniridia is caused by two factors. The causes of aniridia are unknown origins or hereditary gene. The main cause of the condition is one or both of the parents carry the gene that causes the abnormality. The parents of the child may not have the condition themselves, but may be the gene carrier. However, if the child’s parents do have the condition, the child has an increase risk of being born with it. Other members in the family that have the condition also increase the child’s chance of having the condition.

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    What are the Complications of Aniridia?

    Rarely, people with this condition also have a tumor of the kidneys known as Wilms’. Children that have both of these conditions are at an increased risk of developing further health complications.

    Most common complications of the condition include sensitivity to light. Others have clouding of the lenses of the eyes. People with aniridia do not have very good vision, often including tunnel vision. Their eyes have a difficult time adjusting to changes in lighting, which can cause images to appear blurred.

    People with this condition have an increased risk of developing other eye conditions, such as glaucoma. Other common complications include nystagmus, corneal disease, and lens sublaxation. Many people experience cataract, macula, or optic nerve disease.

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    What is the Treatment for Aniridia?

    Depending on the severity of the condition will determine the treatment course. However, most often treatment only includes monitoring the condition and protecting the eyes. Eye protection includes wearing sun glasses and wide brimmed hats to protect the eyes from bright light. When living with this condition it is best to avoid facing light sources.

    Keeping eye strain to a minimum is often advised. This includes magnifying images to reduce eye strain. Eye glasses are often used for this.

    It is important to see an eye doctor yearly to monitor the condition. This will note any progression of other eye conditions or damages to the eye that may have occurred. Frequent visits to the eye doctor will prolong the loss of vision.

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    “Aniridia” California School for the Blind

    “Aniridia” RNIB, December 10, 2009

    Photo: “Optometry” By Icekitty37 Stock.xchng