In a private hospital in the city of El Senbellawein in Egypt, a woman gave birth to a child with a single eye in the middle of its face. The photo of the newborn was posted on Slaati.com and was later picked up by the Daily Mail, from which it quickly made its way around the internet, baffling lots of internet users.
A birth defect known as ‘cyclopia'
The baby suffered from a birth defect known as ‘cyclopia’. This facial defect was caused by the failure of the embryonic prosencephalon in the brain. Instead of the brain separating into two sections like it usually does, the primitive brain remains as one which can also result in only one eye orbit forming instead of two, leading to one big eye in the centre of the face.
And this is what happened to this cyclops baby, who was also missing a nose. However, this type of defect is rare and affects only 4 in 1,000 newborns. In most cases, the pregnancy doesn’t reach full-term but in animals, however, this abnormality is more common to observe and has been known to affect a variety of species.
One case from 2011 is particularly memorable when a young cyclops shark with a single eye was discovered in the Gulf of California to Mexico.
Radiation exposure during pregnancy?
Cyclopia can be caused by genetics but in this care, doctors believe that the mother was exposed to a combination of treatments or radiation during her pregnancy which could have stunted or affected the growth of her foetus.
Unfortunately, in cases of cyclopia, the deformations and abnormalities don’t just affect the eyes. Some babies have also been known to suffer other problems, in particular with their hearts and according to doctors, they don’t survive more than a few days. This was the case with the newborn boy in Egypt, who died just days after he was born.