Clustering of anophthalmia and microphthalmia

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.317.7163.895 (Published 03 October 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:895

No clustering has been foundbut a link seems to exist with population density

  1. E C M Mariman, Assistant professor of human genetics
  1. Department of Human Genetics, University Hospital Nijmegen, 6500 HB Nijmegen, Netherlands

    Papers p 905

    A few years ago public concern was raised in England by the appearance of apparent clusters of cases of anophthalmia and microphthalmia.1 The pesticide benomyl, and later on its derivative carbendazim, was suspected to be the cause of the alleged clustering. In response to a press campaign the government in 1993 commissioned further research, although without clearly indicating the direction for the investigations. In this week's issue Dolk et al publish the results of that research (p 905).2 Although they did not confirm clustering, their results raise further, interesting, questions.

    Microphthalmia is a general term used to describe a broad range of improperly developed, small eyes in newborn children. One end of the range is marked by babies with complete absence of eyes—that is, anophthalmia—whereas at the other end are cases that are rather arbitrarily …

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