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Baby in Arizona born without eyes

Three-month-old Richie Lopez wears expanders inside his empty eye sockets to allow prosthetic replacements to one day be implanted.
By Fred Lambert Contact the Author   |   Jan. 25, 2015 at 9:50 PM

MESA, Ariz., Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Nearly two weeks after giving birth to a baby boy, an Arizona woman discovered her son had no eyes.

Kelly Lopez gave birth to Richie Lopez three months ago after a normal pregnancy and ultrasound, and initially she thought the infant's face was swollen. An MRI test 13 days later indicated that Richie Lopez had been born without any eyes.

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"I think we were just in shock. Obviously very upsetting," she told 3TV. "The first thought through your mind is, how did this even happen and how was it not even caught?"

Expanders were sutured into Richie Lopez's eye sockets to keep them spaced and ready for future prosthetic replacements, but he rubbed them out. His mother was able to re-insert one, an experience she described as "emotional" but necessary. The family dog is believed to have eaten the other.

Doctors said the child still had his optical nerve. "I do hope that one day they'll be able to either grow an eye or transplant an eye," Kelly Lopez said.

Last year a baby was born without eyes in Denver, Colorado. Doctors said the infant had a rare condition called Anophthalmia, which affects 1 in 250,000 people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines it as "total absence of the eye tissue or apparent absence of the globe in an orbit that otherwise contains normal adnexal structures."

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