Cryptophthalmia is a congenital abnormality in which the eyelids are absent and skin passes continuously from the forehead to the cheek over rudimentary eyes. That is what ten-month-old Liaoliao was born with – a rare condition that affects only about one hundred patients in the world. But all hope is not lost as little Liaoliao’s family hopes she will regain her sight and see the world for the first time after an operation on her right eye.
In February this year when Liaoliao was born, her family were confronted with news that their daughter’s eyes were covered with skin, and had no eyelashes or eyebrows. This led to apprehension among the family as they didn’t know how to share the news of Liaoliao’s condition with their neighbors in their village of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
But Liaoliao’s family soon got a glimmer of optimism when they realized that she could sense the direction of and interpret light as she would always face the sun when taken outside and rubbed her eye sockets when the indoor lights were turned on.
This led to Liaoliao’s family turning to the Xiamen Eye Center of Xiamen University, which had experience with similar cases dating back to 2007.
After an operation on November 23, Liu Zuguo, director of the Xiamen Eye Center said that at present, Liaoliao’s muscles are unable to support her eyelids while certain components within her eye have not formed fully. Therefore, the next operation will focus upon improving Liaoliao’s visual recovery.