What is Cryptophthalmos?

Cryptophthalmos (hidden eye) is a rare disorder which involves complete or partial failure of development of eyelids. It is usually associated with varying degrees of incomplete development of eyeball. Anterior segment of the eye globe is mainly poorly developed or not present at all. If cryptophthalmos is associated with genitourinary defects and syndactyly (a condition in which some or all of the fingers or toes are partially or wholly united), it is called Fraser syndrome.

In the above picture, you can see partial variety of cryptophthalmos on the right side and complete variety on the left side. Asymmetry of nose is also obvious.

Parital cryptophthalmos

In the above picture, right sided partial cryptophthalmos can be seen. Note the nonexistent upper eyelid with some evidence of poorly formed cornea and anterior segment of the eye. Lower eyelid is identifiable with the row of eyelashes along its margin. The right half of the nose seems to be structurally normal.

complete cryptophthalmos

In the above picture, left sided complete cryptophthalmos is quite obvious with the skin covering the eye from forehead to cheek. Some eyebrow hairs are present. The contour of the underlying eye globe can be appreciated. Also note the left half of the nose which seems to be pulled towards the left eye.

The prognosis of cryptophthalmos is usually poor with no satisfactory treatment available because of absence of structurally and functionally normal eyeball. In abortive cases (where the defect is minimal), surgical restoration of anatomy of the eyeball is attempted which may provide some useful vision to the patient.

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