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A friend was telling me about this condition called aniridia, which affects different parts of the eye, most notably the iris. I was wondering if someone could tell me more about this? My friend said aniridia can lead to blindness. Does this mean aniridia is a progressive disease that will always make a patient go blind? Or is this treatable and potentially avoidable?

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Aniridia can affect almost every portion of the anatomy of the eye. The obvious missing anatomy of the eye in someone with aniridia is the iris, hence the name 'anIRIdia'. The missing iris does not cause progressive vision loss (it does affect someone's baseline vision because the iris regulates the amount of light entering your eye; if you're ever had your eyes dilated, then you know that you're vision is compromised while they are dilated). The other parts of the eye that are malformed and can progressively cause blindness as an individual with aniridia ages are the cornea (the cornea tends to cloud over due to issues in the limbal stem cell region), the lens (cataracts can cause progressive vision loss), and the trabecular meshwork/ciliary body (glaucoma which, left untreated, can lead to complete and irreversible vision loss). If you want to learn more about aniridia, please visit: www.visionfortomorrow.org and go to their 'Aniridia' page.

Sincerely,

Helen Mopsick (mother of a child with aniridia)
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People with aniridia often, but not always have low vision. It also puts them at greater risk of getting cataracts or glaucoma etc which can lead to further site loss. But as Helen says, aniridia itself will not lead to blindness. Some people (such as myself) who have not had the other conditions it have had stable levels of sight since birth. I am now 31.

There are a number of aniridia support groups. In the USA there is the one Helen mentioned and also Aniridia Foundation International www.aniridia.net

James
Aniridia Network UK
www.aniridia.org.uk
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Hello
Thank you for the information. I have a 9 months old son born with aniridia.
I have a question. Can you drive?
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