Among the diseases that can plague the eye, Uveal Coloboma is responsible or related to a great number of the cases where children are born blind. It can also be a big contributor to the loss of sight in other age groups.
What is Coloboma?
This condition is related when a tissue from a part of the eye is missing. This is a process that occurs during the formation and the development in the eye and its impact may be observed as early as birth and revealed in the early years of the child or months of the child.
Multiple parts of the eye can be affected by this condition - the macula, uvea, lens, lids and optic nerve - and each of them comes with different symptoms. Depending on the parts which are suffering from coloboma, the individual may or may not experience visual impairment.
Uveal Coloboma can develop on either one or both sides. Unless the Coloboma is affecting the front of the eye, it can be hard to diagnose in small children. If there are affected areas at the back of the eye, they are much harder to diagnose and normally get found out much later. Coloboma at the back of the eye can often result in a loss of sight.
It is possible for an Uveal Coloboma to not be noticable, as the missing tissue sometimes doesn't affect a person in a way or to a degree which is noticeable.
What are the symptoms of Uveal Coloboma?
Some of the symptoms of Coloboma can be visible without examination. They generally don't affect the vision of the patient:
- Changes in the shape of the uvea, making it look like a keyhole or a cat's eye. This can result in heightened sensitivity to light.
- Missing top or bottom eyelids.
Visual impairment comes when Coloboma affects the optic nerve or the retina, causing:
- Affected field of vision, with some part of the field missing
There are also a number of conditions that can exist alongside Coloboma. To name a few:
- Small eye
What are the risk factors for development of Coloboma?
Coloboma is of genetic origin. It can also be affected by various syndromes which affect or remove a said gene. CHARGE syndrome is among them. The inheritance of the condition is relatively hard to predict.
It is speculated that the environment during pregnancy can also have an impact on the chance of developing this condition.
What is the treatment for Uveal Coloboma?
There is no cure for this condition, however there are different tools that can be used to reduce the negative impact from it.
- Visual aids can help people with affected vision. Glasses and contact lenses can help with refractive errors.
- In cases where one eye has been affected by lazy eye, for example, it is possible to treat it by using corrective lenses or eye patches. This can help improve vision on the affected eye so it gets to the same level as the healthy one.
- Surgeries to improve appearance of the iris and the eyelids are also available.
The cases of Coloboma vary widely in the areas they affect and their severity. The condition is relatively rare and even when present it might take a while to detect depending on the affected area.