Cryptophthalmos: associated syndromes and genetic disorders

Ophthalmic Genet. 2023 Dec;44(6):547-552. doi: 10.1080/13816810.2023.2237568. Epub 2023 Jul 26.


Purpose: Cryptophthalmos is a rare congenital condition caused by anomalous eyelid development where the eyelid folds do not develop or fail to separate. Cryptophthalmos can be unilateral or bilateral and can occur in isolation or as part of an underlying syndrome. We aim to identify genetic syndromes associated with cryptophthalmos to facilitate genetic diagnosis.

Methods: We performed a retrospective medical record review of all patients diagnosed with cryptophthalmos followed at a single center between 2000 and 2020. The analysis included medical history, clinical examination findings, and genetic testing results.

Results: Thirteen patients were included, 10 (77%) males, mean age of 2.4 years. Eight (61%) had bilateral cryptophthalmos, and 4 (31%) had complete cryptophthalmos. Associated ocular abnormalities included corneal opacities (13/13, 100%), upper eyelid colobomas (12/13, 92%), and microphthalmia/clinical anophthalmia (3/13, 23%). All cases of complete cryptophthalmos had bilateral disease. An underlying clinical or molecular diagnosis was identified in 10/13 (77%) cases, including Fraser syndrome (n = 5), amniotic band syndrome (n = 1), FREM1-related disease (n = 1), Goldenhar versus Schimmelpenning syndrome (n = 1), MOTA syndrome (n = 1), and CELSR2-related disease (n = 1).

Conclusion: This is the first report of a possible association between cryptophthalmos and biallelic CELSR2 variants. Children with cryptophthalmos, especially those with extra-ocular involvement, should be referred for comprehensive genetic evaluation.

Keywords: Ablepharon-macrostomia syndrome; Cryptophthalmos; FREM2; Fraser syndrome; TWIST2.

MeSH terms

  • Anophthalmos*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Eyelids
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Microphthalmos* / complications
  • Microphthalmos* / diagnosis
  • Microphthalmos* / genetics
  • Rare Diseases
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Syndrome