UCD scientists make key finding on eyeless babies
Irish scientists have moved a step closer to finding out why some babies are born with no eyes. The condition, called anophthalmia, means that children must have prosthetic eyes fitted to help their face and skull to develop naturally.
However, scientists at University College Dublin (UCD) have now identified a genetic alteration which causes a child to be born with no eyes.
They found a child's eyes will not develop fully in the womb if he or she has alterations in both copies of its STRA6 gene.
The findings, published in the journal 'Human Mutation', means that scientists can now develop a genetic test for couples who may be carrying the altered gene.
If identified, the couples can receive advice and counselling about the implications of carrying the gene alteration for their present and future children.
Anophthalmia occurs in around 1 in 100,000 births.