Anophthalmia refers to a complete absence of ocular development. It is often considered to represent the most severe form of microphthalmia.


It can occur in 3 different situations:

  • primary anophthalmia: complete absence of eye tissue due to a failure of the part of the brain that forms the eye
  • secondary anophthalmia: there is initial eye development which halts for some reason leaving behind only residual eye tissue or extremely small eyes which can only be seen under close examination
  • degenerative anophthalmia: there is initial ocular development but again for some reason starts to degenerate - possibly from lack of blood supply to the eye

Recognised associations are many and include:

History and etymology

It derives from the Greek word: ανόφθαλμος meaning "without eye"

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