Aniridia – Barraquer Ophthalmology Centre



What is aniridia?

Aniridia (Greek, without iris) is the complete or almost complete absence of the iris.

The iris is the colored part of the inner eye that surrounds the pupil and helps regulate the amount of light that enters the interior, like the "diaphragm" of a camera.

It may be caused by trauma, complicated surgery, or a congenital defect, usually bilateral, inherited from parents or sporadic by an alteration of a gene located on chromosome 11 called PAX6.

Symptoms of aniridia

Glare symptoms, photophobia, poor vision and appearance of the pupil is large or irregular, among others.

In addition, congenital aniridia can associate other eye disorders such as incomplete development of the retina, resulting in uncontrollable small eye movements (nystagmus), cataracts, lens dislocation, glaucoma, corneal disorders and systemic affectations such as Wilms tumor.

Treatments for aniridia

The use of cosmetic contact lenses are an option, but the current eye microsurgery allows in many cases to perform reconstruction of the iris and pupil, in partial defects. With total or subtotal defects it is possible to use anular implants of 90 ° or 180 ° to form a complete iris. The newest is the Artificial Iris (Dr. Schmidt, Humanoptics), a flexible iris with personalized color according to photographs, which allows implementation without stitches.


Genetic diagnosis is important for children born with this disease in order to determine the degree of injury. They have to perform comprehensive annual monitoring by specialized pediatricians and ophthalmologists to detect and treat early associated pathologies, trying to improve the patient’s quality of life, during a longer period of time for affected patients.



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