• Resumen
  • Sinónimos
  • Signos y Síntomas
  • Causas y Herencia
  • Frecuencia
  • Enfermedades con síntomas similares
  • Diagnóstico
  • Tratamiento
  • Investigaciones
  • Referencias
  • Programas & Recursos
  • Informe completo

Isolated Aniridia


Última actualización: 2/14/2024
Años publicados: 1988, 1989, 2000, 2004, 2007, 2020, 2024


NORD gratefully acknowledges Gioconda Alyea, MD (FMG), MS, National Organization for Rare Disorders, Bryan C. Mak, MMSc, NORD Editorial Intern from the Emory University Genetic Counseling Training Program and Cecelia A. Bellcross, PhD, MS, CGC, Associate Professor, Director, Genetic Counseling Training Program, Emory University School of Medicine, for assistance in the preparation of this report.



Aniridia is a rare condition characterized by abnormal development of the iris of the eye. The iris is the circular, colored part in the middle of the eyeball. The center of the iris is known as the pupil. The iris can control the size of the pupil, which regulates the amount of light that enters the eye. In aniridia the iris is either partly or completely missing.

Aniridia can be isolated (aniridia without problems in other organs of the body) or can be a part of several genetic syndromes, such as WAGR syndrome and Gillespie syndrome. Aniridia can also be acquired and occur after trauma or ocular surgery. This report discusses isolated aniridia.

Most forms of isolated aniridia are caused by changes (pathogenic variants or mutations) in the PAX6 gene.

Treatment is focused on preserving and improving vision and may include the use of an artificial iris, medication and surgery.


  • Sección siguiente >
  • < Sección anterior
  • Sección siguiente >


  • irideremia
  • < Sección anterior
  • Sección siguiente >
  • < Sección anterior
  • Sección siguiente >

Signos y Síntomas

Aniridia is the partial or complete absence of the iris of the eye. Vision is preserved in some patients with mild cases of aniridia. This condition occurs when the iris fails to develop normally before birth in one or both eyes. Typically, aniridia can be diagnosed at birth. Aniridia can be isolated, i.e., occur as a single abnormality or can be one of many symptoms in an underlying condition.

Isolated aniridia is the partial or complete absence of the iris from birth. Some people with this type of aniridia may be unaware of any eye problems because pupils appear normal and usually only one eye is mildly affected. In more severe cases, isolated aniridia can cause vision problems later in life. Other symptoms can make vision cloudy or blurry and may include:

  • Clouding of the crystalline lens of the eye (cataracts)
  • Gradual loss of vision due to increased pressure inside the eyeball which may be accompanied by varying degrees of pain (glaucoma)
  • Superficial clouding of the cornea (corneal pannus)
  • Rapid involuntary movement of the eyeball (nystagmus)
  • Underdevelopment of the fovea area of the retina (which controls acute vision)

Aniridia may be part of an underlying condition such as Gillespie syndrome, which includes aniridia, intellectual disability and ataxia among other features, and WAGR syndrome, characterized by a kidney tumor known as Wilm’s tumor and other anomalies such as genital and urinary anomalies and intellectual disability.

  • < Sección anterior
  • Sección siguiente >
  • < Sección anterior
  • Sección siguiente >

Causas y Herencia

Most forms of isolated aniridia are caused by variants in the PAX6 gene. The PAX6 gene belongs to a family of genes that are important for the correct formation of tissues and organs during embryonic development and for maintaining the normal function of certain cells after birth.

The PAX6 gene codes for the PAX6 protein, which is thought to turn on (activate) genes involved in the formation of the eyes, brain and spinal cord (central nervous system), and the pancreas. Additionally, researchers believe that the PAX6 protein controls many aspects of eye development before birth. After birth, the PAX6 protein likely regulates the expression of various genes in many structures of the eyes.

Aniridia caused by PAX6 gene variants (PAX6-related aniridia) occurs either as an isolated eye (ocular) abnormality or as part of the Wilms tumor-aniridia-genital anomalies-retardation (WAGR) syndrome (see below).

About 13% to 33% of people with aniridia have sporadic aniridia, caused by a new (de novo) gene variant that was not inherited from the parents. About 25% to 33% of people with sporadic congenital aniridia may develop nephroblastoma before 3 years of age, as a part of WAGR syndrome (Wilms tumor, aniridia, genitourinary anomalies, and intellectual disability). In WAGR syndrome there is a partial deletion of the short arm of chromosome 11 involving both the PAX6 and WT1 genes.

A few cases of isolated aniridia are caused by variants in other genes including the ELP4 gene and the TRIM44 gene. Isolated aniridia caused by variants in the PAX6 gene is classified as aniridia type 1 (the most common form), aniridia caused by variants in the ELP4 gene, a gene that encodes a regulator of the PAX6 gene, is classified as aniridia type 2 and aniridia caused by variants in the TRIM44 gene is classified as aniridia type 3.

In almost all cases, isolated aniridia follows an autosomal dominant pattern. Dominant genetic disorders occur when only a single copy of a disease-causing gene variant is necessary to cause a particular disease. The gene variant can be inherited from either parent or can be the result of a new changed gene in the affected individual. The risk of passing the gene variant from an affected parent to a child is 50% for each pregnancy. The risk is the same for males and females.

Sometimes a genetic cause for isolated aniridia cannot be identified.

 Acquired aniridia can occur after eye trauma or surgery.

  • < Sección anterior
  • Sección siguiente >
  • < Sección anterior
  • Sección siguiente >


All types of aniridia affect males and females in equal numbers. This disorder is thought to occur in approximately 1 in 40,000 to 96,000 livebirths in the United States.

  • < Sección anterior
  • Sección siguiente >
  • < Sección anterior
  • Sección siguiente >


Diagnosis can be made based on the family history and a detailed physical and eye examination by an ophthalmologist. Diagnosis can be confirmed by genetic testing that identifies a gene variant that can cause aniridia. About two-thirds of people with isolated aniridia have other relatives with this condition. The doctor needs to do a careful slit-lamp examination on other family members before establishing that the patient has a de novo gene variant that was not inherited.

  • < Sección anterior
  • Sección siguiente >
  • < Sección anterior
  • Sección siguiente >



Treatment of aniridia is usually directed at improving and preserving vision. Drugs or surgery may be helpful for glaucoma and/or cataracts. Contact lenses may be beneficial for some patients. When a genetic cause cannot be identified, patients should be evaluated for the possibility of Wilms’ tumor development. (For more information on this disorder, please choose “Wilms” as your search term in the Rare Disease Database.)

Children with aniridia who are younger than eight years of age should have ophthalmologic evaluations every four to six months for refractive errors and amblyopia and an annual ophthalmology follow up to detect issues such as corneal changes, raised intraocular pressure and cataracts.

Children with aniridia due to WAGR syndrome or children who do not have an identified genetic cause should have kidney (renal) ultrasound examinations every 3 months and should be followed up by a pediatric oncologist until age eight years. Because of the increased risk for kidney impairment in WAGR syndrome (especially in those with bilateral Wilms tumor), lifelong evaluation of renal function is recommended.

In 2018, the FDA approved the first artificial iris, a surgically implanted device to treat adults and children with aniridia. This device may help to reduce light sensitivity and glare and improve the cosmetic appearance of the eye.

Genetic counseling is recommended. Other treatments are symptomatic and supportive.

  • < Sección anterior
  • Sección siguiente >
  • < Sección anterior
  • Sección siguiente >


Information on current clinical trials is posted on the Internet at www.clinicaltrials.gov. All studies receiving U.S. government funding, and some supported by private industry, are posted on this government web site.

For information about clinical trials being conducted at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD, contact the NIH Patient Recruitment Office:

Toll-free: (800) 411-1222
TTY: (866) 411-1010
Email: prpl@cc.nih.gov

Some current clinical trials also are posted on the following page on the NORD website: https://rarediseases.org/living-with-a-rare-disease/find-clinical-trials/

For information about clinical trials sponsored by private sources, contact: https://www.centerwatch.com/

For information about clinical trials conducted in Europe, contact: https://www.clinicaltrialsregister.eu/

  • < Sección anterior
  • Sección siguiente >
  • < Sección anterior
  • Sección siguiente >


Lauderdale JD. Aniridia. In: NORD Guide to Rare Disorders. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Philadelphia, PA. 2003:640.

Wawrocka A, Krawczynski MR. The genetics of aniridia – simple things become complicated. J Appl Genet. 2018;59(2):151‐159.

Lim H, Kim D, Kim H. PAX6 aniridia syndrome. Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2017;28(5):436-447.

Hingorani M, Hanson I, van Heyningen V. Aniridia. Eur J Hum Genet. 2012;20(10):1011-1017. doi:10.1038/ejhg.2012.100

Hall HN, Williamson KA, FitzPatrick DR. The genetic architecture of aniridia and Gillespie syndrome. Hum Genet. 2019;138(8-9):881-898. doi:10.1007/s00439-018-1934-8.

Saying aye to the artificial iris. Nat Biotechnol. 2018;36(7):565.

Sannan NS, Gregory-Evans CY, Lyons CJ, et al. Correlation of novel PAX6 gene abnormalities in aniridia and clinical presentation. Can J Ophthalmol. 2017;52(6):570-577. doi:10.1016/j.jcjo.2017.04.006

Weissbart SB, Ayres BD. Management of aniridia and iris defects: an update on iris prosthesis options. Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2016;27(3):244-249. doi:10.1097/ICU.0000000000000253

Ahmed NR, Tando R & Vanathi M. Diagnosis and Management of Aniridia. November 2014. Opthalmic Pearls.

Laghmari M, et al. Bilateral congenital aniridia: 5 case reports. J Fr Ophthalmol. 2004;27:385-91.

Zumkeller W, Orth U, Gal A. Three novel PAX6 mutations in patients with aniridia. Mol Pathol. 2003;56:180-3.

Churchill AJ, et al. Prenatal diagnosis of aniridia. Ophthalmology. 2000;107:1153-56.

Chao LY, et al. Mutation in the PAX6 gene in twenty patients with aniridia. Hum Mutat. 2000;15:332-39.

Hartmann RW Jr, et al. Picture of the month. Congenital aniridia. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2000;154:525-26.

Tanzer DJ, et al. Black iris-diaphragm intraocular lens for aniridia and aphakia. J Cataract Refract Surg. 1999;25:1548-51.

Osher RH, et al. Cataract surgery combined with implantation of an artifical iris. J Cataract Refract Surg. 1999;25:1540-47.

Chen TC, et al. Goniosurgery for prevention of aniridic glaucoma. Arch Ophthalmol. 1999;117:1144-48.


Moosajee M, Hingorani M, Moore AT. PAX6-Related Aniridia. 2003 May 20 [Updated 2018 Oct 18]. In: Adam MP, Feldman J, Mirzaa GM, et al., editors. GeneReviews® [Internet]. Seattle (WA): University of Washington, Seattle; 1993-2024. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK1360/ Accessed Feb 5, 2024.

Aniridia 1. McKusick VA, ed. Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM). Baltimore. MD: The Johns Hopkins University; Entry No: 106210; Last Update: 10/4/2016. https://www.omim.org/entry/106210# Accessed Feb 5, 2024.

Ross M. Aniridia. Medscape. April 6, 2023. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1208379-overview Accessed Feb 14, 2024.

Isolated Aniridia. Orphanet. March 2012. https://www.orpha.net/consor/cgi-bin/OC_Exp.php?lng=en&Expert=250923 Accessed Feb 14, 2024.

  • < Sección anterior
  • Sección siguiente >

Programas & Recursos

Programas de asistencia RareCare®

Programas de Asistencia Adicional

Programa de Asistencia MedicAlert

NORD y la Fundación MedicAlert se han asociado en un nuevo programa para brindar protección a pacientes con enfermedades raras en situaciones de emergencia.

Aprende más https://rarediseases.org/patient-assistance-programs/medicalert-assistance-program/

Programa de Apoyo Educativo de Enfermedades Raras

Asegurarse de que los pacientes y los cuidadores estén equipados con las herramientas que necesitan para vivir su mejor vida mientras manejan su condición rara es una parte vital de la misión de NORD.

Aprende más https://rarediseases.org/patient-assistance-programs/rare-disease-educational-support/

Programa de descanso para cuidadores raros

Este programa de asistencia, primero en su tipo, está diseñado para los cuidadores de un niño o adulto diagnosticado con un trastorno raro.

Aprende más https://rarediseases.org/patient-assistance-programs/caregiver-respite/

Organizaciones de pacientes

National Organization for Rare Disorders