The first few days after Richie was born, nothing clouded Kelly Lopez’s joy. She wasn’t too worried about the fact that the newborn had not opened his eyes.
But then an MRI taken he was almost two weeks old came back with shocking news – those tiny eye sockets were empty. Richie was born with no eyeballs.
Lopez says she had a normal and uneventful pregnancy and cannot understand how the problem was not detected before he was born.
“I think we were just in shock," Lopez, of Mesa, Arizona told the online news website Newser. "[It was] obviously very upsetting. The first thought through your mind is, how did this even happen and how was it not even caught?"
Richie’s birth defect is called Anophthalmia, which results in the total absence of ocular tissue or globe – it is an extremely rare disease, mostly rooted in genetic abnormalities.
The only ray of hope for the Lopez’s is that Richie does have an optic nerve and may potentially be able to see one day, with the help of science.
For now, he wears a pair of baby sunglasses.
"I do hope that one day that they'll be able to either grow an eye or transplant an eye," Lopez added.
Richie, who is now three months old, is already enrolled in developmental programs designed for blind babies and plays with specially designed toys.