Bridget and Mike Wildshuetz of Kyle, Texas, had eagerly anticipated the birth of their baby this September. The last thing they ever expected was for their daughter to be born without eyes.
ABC News reports that Faith Wildshuetz, who has been nicknamed "Super Baby Faith," was diagnosed with severe bilateral microphthalmia, a rare congenital disorder that results in minimal eye development. In severe cases, there is an absence of eye tissue and the globe in the eye socket area. Because both of her eyes are affected, Faith is completely blind. She also has very small sinuses, which make it difficult for her to get enough oxygen on her own.
About one in every 10,000 births are affected by some form of microphthalmia. In some cases, one eye may be normal and the other affected, or both. There is no definitive cause of microphthalmia, but the condition is linked to chromosomal disorders and environmental causes such as exposure to chemicals.
Options for children with the condition include conformers, which are clear plastic prosthetics with a peg or stem for easy insertion and removal. Conformers expand the eye socket, stretch the eyelid and keep the structure of the face growing properly. They are the first step towards prosthetic eyes. Faith recently went to the ocularist to be fitted with conformers.
After nearly a month in the hospital, Faith was finally able to go home in early October. The newborn's medical bills are taking a toll on the family, who is also struggling with the financial burden of keeping up with utilities and day-to-day activities. Her father, Mike, is a mining engineer who was laid off from his supervisor job in October 2008, and mother Bridget is a physical education teacher at a local elementary school. Despite the support of family, friends and their church, the Wildshuetz family could use your help. Donate to Super Baby Faith's benefit fund and stay updated on her condition and progress.