What is cyclopia?
Cyclopia is a complicated and rare form of holoprosencephaly. This condition affects how the front of the brain divides while the foetus is developing. Some kids with this condition have very few problems and significant brain function, but in cyclopia, the eyes have not developed normally, nor has the nose. Instead of two eyes, babies born with this may have a single eye almost in the middle of the face (like the mythical cyclops) and a nose that doesn’t function well, is nearly absent, and may be located above the eye instead of below it.
Most babies with this disorder don’t survive and they may have other severe defects that would make survival difficult, including seriously malformed hearts. When these children do survive, they may require some reconstructive surgery if possible.
It is not only humans that can have trouble with cyclopia. It occurs very often in animal populations. There are reports of kittens being born with it regularly. Invariably the kittens tend not to survive and usually are either born dead or die within the first few hours of life. A few people have survived with cyclopia, but it is rare. Concerns exist about quality of life for the person who does beat the odds and is able to live with the condition.