Recently, photos of a cute two-year old has been making its rounds on social media. She has large “Disney princess” eyes which many people compliment her for, but little do they know of the underlying condition that makes her eyes look so big: Axenfeld Rieger syndrome eye disease.
Beautiful two-year-old has Axenfeld Rieger Syndrome Eye Disease
Two-year-old Mehlani Ramirez is just like any toddler. But when you look at her, the first thing you notice are her huge, pretty eyes that make her look like a Disney princess. But truth is that her eyes look like this because of Axenfeld Rieger Syndrome eye disease.
Mehlani often gets showered with compliments because of how pretty she is with her big eyes. But her mum Karina is worried that when she starts preschool she might get bullied because she looks “different”.
Karina recently uploaded a photo of Mehlani on Twitter, expressing her worries about the two-year-old’s future:
“I get so nervous thinking about her starting school. What if other kids are mean about her eyes & she gets made fun of? What if she starts to hate her unique gorgeous eyes? It makes me want to cry thinking about it because she’s so strong & sweet & been through so much already”
Mehlani Ramirez has some gorgeous disney princess eyes! | Image Source: Twitter
Netizens respond positively
A lot of emphasis is put on the negativity surrounding the internet – cybersafety, paedophiles, predators, hackers, trolls and bullies. But we don’t see the positivity that could come from it.
Netizens have responded positively to Mehlani’s big eyes. One user, @Chynnajo, said that “She’s gorgeous. She’s a strong little gal and she’s lucky to have you as her mommy. Just perfect.” Another mum, whose child also has a similar issue, also shared pictures of her own child, who went through a surgical procedure while young.
Moved by netizens’ positivity, Karina began uploading more pictures of her daughter. She says that , initially the first five months were difficult since Mehlani required a surgical procedure.
A little fighter
However, she explains that the surgery wasn’t meant to fix Mehlani’s eye condition. Instead the surgery aimed to help another condition.
Mehlani’s eyes were suffering from increased pressure and damage due to an abnormal body part, so surgeons had to replace it with an artificial one.
Thankfully, according to Karina, the surgery was a success. She says that Mehlani’s eyesight is fine now, but they don’t know what the future will hold. The pair are taking it slow and going for check ups regularly, with Mehlani expressing her gratitude to all those who supported her:
“Im seriously overwhelmed with all of the love my princess is getting,” Karina tweeted. “you guys are literally making me tear up! … I’ll just remind her — I already do — how beautiful she is. I’ll just tell her God made her that way for a reason. Everybody has something that makes them different.”
What is Axenfeld Rieger syndrome eye disease?
Axenfeld Rieger syndrome eye disease is an umbrella term for many illnesses that affect the eye’s growth. The genetic disease is inherited from parents. There are three broad categories of Axenfeld-Rieger syndrome eye disease, but they all have a different cause. Patients are treated based on their symptoms.
Symptoms of Axenfeld Rieger syndrome eye disease
People with this disease can have a variety of symptoms, such as:
- a pupil that’s swayed off from the center
- additional holes in their eyes, as if they have multiple pupils, or even irregularly sized pupils which are too large or small.
- a cloudy cornea, where there’s solid ring surrounding the cornea’s outer edge.
- iris stands, which is connective tissue joining the iris (the coloured section) and the lens.
- glaucoma, which happens to about half of the people with Axenfeld Rieger Syndrome eye disease. Glaucoma raises the pressure within the eyes, and may lead to vision loss or blindness.
- other conditions, like cross-eye, cataracts and macular degeneration, which causes gradual loss of eyesight.
Other body part symptoms
Axenfeld Rieger syndrome can also have effects on other areas of the body, too, such as:
- unique facial features, which include
- jaws that have not fully developed
- a protruding lower lip
- eyes that are wide apart
- wide nasal bridges
- a large forehead
- teeth problems, which include
- teeth that are smaller than usual
- lacking certain teeth
- cone-shaped teeth
- teeth that aren’t spaced properly
- other birth defects, including additional skin surrounding their belly button, heart abnormalities , and much more.
One of the main ways to treat Axenfeld Rieger syndrome eye disease is through a surgical procedure which can ease serious symptoms. | Image Source: Stock Photo
How is Axenfeld Rieger Syndrome Eye disease treated?
Normally, the main aim of treatment is to reduce pressure in the eye, which usually comes when the child has glaucoma. Your doctor may advise you to:
- have routine eye check ups every year. Medical professionals will conduct specific tests to identify if your child has glaucoma.
- buy some eye drops and medicine to reduce the pressure in your child’s eye, if they have glaucoma.
- let your child undergo a surgical procedure, or laser surgery, if the eye drops haven’t helped.
- buy contact lenses if your child has multiple pupils or a pupil that’s not in the middle,
- have other surgeries or treatments based on your child’s additional symptoms. Surgical procedures can help correct facial, dental or heart issues.
- get medication which comes with growth hormone to treat your child’s short stature.
What type of doctor should I visit if my child has Axenfeld Rieger syndrome eye disease?
If your child has been diagnosed with Axenfeld Rieger syndrome eye disease, it’s best to consult experienced medical professionals or specialists for guidance. They can be found in disease support organizations, clinical trials, or even in scientific journals.
References: vt.co, rarediseases.info, Twitter (1, 2)
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