Cyclopia a rare birth defect

Photograph of foetus with cyclopia

Image via Wikipedia

Cyclopia is one of the rarest forms of birth defect where the baby is born with one eye or two eyes on the forehead of the baby. The one eye is a result of the orbital sockets not forming correctly in the womb. Some cases of cyclopia have been associated with a rare chromosomal condition called Patau Syndrome, which is associated with a person having three instead of the usual two #13 chromosomes.  Cyclopia is also known as synophthalmia which is the fusion of the eyes, however true cyclopia is a rare anomaly in which the organogenetic development of the two separate eyes is suppressed.

Although babies suffering from this type of birth defect are usually still born, a baby believed to be suffering form cyclopia was born by caesarian section in March 2011 and lived for one whole day before he died in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at JJ hospital.

The term “Cyclopia” comes from the Cyclops, the one eyed giants of Greek mythology, a mythical race of lawless giant shepherds who lived in Sicily. They had a single large round eye in the centre of their forehead.

Cyclopia is not confined to the human race, it often occurs in animal populations.   There have been several reports of kittens suffering from cyclopia, these kittens rarely survive and are usually born dead or die within the first few hours of life.


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