I was born with a condition called Aniridia, meaning without iris. It is bilateral, occurring in both eyes. I am adopted so not sure if it is genetic or sporadic.

I've grown up with stellate cataracts in both eyes, in September 2011 the cataract in my right eye thickened and I could not see out that eye so was scheduled for surgery on 20/12/11. I had to have a special artificial iris (Morcher ring) made to fit my eye, this was made in Germany. I still have the cataract in my left eye and am in no rush to have the surgery repeated while I can still see out of that eye.

I have some pictures here: http://imgur.com/a/DRkgm#0 , I hope this is enough proof.

Comments: 69 • Responses: 24  • Date: 

JBash8427 karma

Do your pupils still dilate?

Has you vision been affected by this in any way?

How was it to deal with in school? I know kids can be quite cruel.

snigglebyte38 karma

They don't dilate, so I just look like I have a big pupil 24/7.

I am extremely shortsighted, I can see long distance, but the further away things are the less detail they have. Because of that, I will never drive unfortunately.

I was teased considerably, mainly because I squint a lot to block out glare so teasing revolved around that mostly. In the classroom I had a small pair of binoculars to see the board with if I couldn't see properly. I hated sitting up the front so they got a lot of use! I started typewriting lessons in year 6 in the event I went blind I could still touch type.

purlwiseass13 karma

I wasn't sure about this, so I googled, but it is as I suspected: You can't have a pupil without an iris, because a pupil is just the hole. So, in the operated eye, you have a fixed pupil, and in the unoperated eye, you have no iris OR pupil.

Both of your eyes are absolutely beautiful, and I like the artificial iris. It's kind of awesome that it's so dark.

snigglebyte11 karma

Thank you :)

JBash8411 karma

Thanks for answering :)

One last question, since they don't dilate do you have a light sensitivity as well?

snigglebyte13 karma

Very much so, I squint to block out as much light/glare as possible, and wear sunglasses when outside, even in winter.

SizeExtraMedium1 karma

i have aniridia as well...and im crazy sensitive to light. Even on overcast days I have to wear sunglasses or I'll get an epic head ache and due to squinting .....will walk like a usual weird.

Edit it probably doesn't mean anything to you, I've also got ptosis.

Thanks for your AMA :-)

snigglebyte1 karma

I need to check my inbox more often! Thanks for commenting though, it's always awesome to hear/see/read about others who have Aniridia! Had to look ptosis up but love learning new things :) it doesn't affect me as such, but I do now have a droopy/falling eyelid now because of the cataract thickening so I kept it closed for a good three months because I couldn't see out of it.

Thank you for commenting though!

vbakavern23 karma

  • When somebody pisses you off, do you start moving in an artificial manner pretending you're a killer cyborg?
  • Are you a killer cyborg?
  • This statement is false!

(Didn't mean to be rude. I can imagine how having to deal with all this must be exhausting. Hang in there you hotbot ;))

snigglebyte20 karma

  • Girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do..
  • We'll never know ;)

Hotbot, best thing I've heard all week!

bobby276811 karma

Do you have 20/20 vision? I honestly kinda think the left eye looks kinda cool. Sorry if that offends you.

snigglebyte13 karma

No offense taken! I think it looks pretty cool too.

My current vision is 6/18 in my left eye, 6/24 in the right. The surgery actually improved the vision in the right eye from 6/18 to 6/24.

honeycakes8 karma

Eye doctor here. 6/18 is metric, in English units that is 20/90. 6/24 is 20/120. Your vision would have actually DECREASED if it went from 6/18 to 6/24. What this means for everyone else, what you see at 90 or 120 feet, she can see it at 20 feet. This is well below most driving requirements in most states.

snigglebyte2 karma

Thanks! That's just the way my specialist explained it to me so maybe I interpreted him wrong. I'm Australian so using metric.

LizzyLovesLancer1 karma

I'm kinda confused. If OP and I are standing next to each other I can make out a figure at 120 feet but OP can't see past 20 feet. Is that correct?

snigglebyte1 karma

Pretty much. If someone is holding a sign up at 120 feet, you can see it clearly. For me to see it clearly, it needs to be within 20 feet. The further away things are for me, the less detail they have.

meltir7 karma

1) Gotta ask - is your vision better in the dark than the average persons ? (I'm thinking Riddick in 'Pitch black') 2) Do you wear sunglasses to get along in bright light, if so - any particular brand/type ? 3) Can/do you wear contact lenses ?

snigglebyte10 karma

1) Marginally, mainly because I open my eyes wider in the dark 2) Sunglasses as soon as I walk out the door, generally stick with Polaroid with a UV of 400 or greater. Or anything approved by the Cancer Council. 3) Contact lenses I've not tried, purely because I would get no benefit out of them unfortunately.

honeycakes2 karma

Actually, there are contact lenses designed for people with aniridia that give them an artificial pupil. They work by having dark pigment in a ring and only let light through the center of the contact lens, just like the pupil would if the iris was present.

I can't believe your eye doctor didn't try fitting you with those before doing an implant.




snigglebyte1 karma

I have stem cell/corneal degeneration in both eyes so contacts are not a viable option for me. I had punctal plugs inserted in June last year to assist with retention of lubrication in the eyes as I constantly suffer from severe dry eye which doesn't help with the corneal degeneration.

Kastro1874206 karma

That actually looks pretty awesome. I can't speak about how it is living like that, but this picture is pretty badass looking if I'm being honest.

I really don't have any questions, the main one I was going to ask (seeing better in the dark) was already asked and answered, so I just thought I'd mention how awesome it looks at the very least.

snigglebyte7 karma

Thanks! It doesn't look like that in normal lighting, it was dark when I took the pic and using a flash which is what made the cataract stand out more I think.

vivalapants5 karma

Audition for the next terminator

snigglebyte13 karma

I've been thinking about a career change, this could be the way to go.

ieatbees1 karma

What's your current career? Does the condition make doing your job any harder/different?

snigglebyte1 karma

I'm a Call Centre Operator with a lot of data entry work. I don't know if it has really made it any harder as I have grown up with it and just adjusted accordingly. I do have to make screen resolution larger, and increase page sizes etc but for the most part it doesn't really interfere. As my vision gets worse, I will need to look into things like screens that magnify monitors etc but for now I do what I can to be as "normal" as one can be!

deathbybears4 karma

Your eyes look like magic orbs. Upvote.

snigglebyte2 karma


FriedTwinkies4 karma

Whats a snigglebyte?

snigglebyte13 karma

Whatever you want it to be :)

stack_cats2 karma

What's your favorite kind of flower?

snigglebyte5 karma

Marigolds :)

nietzs1 karma

Hi! I believe your left eye is the "natural" one isn't it? Is there a reason your left "pupil" is starshaped?

snigglebyte1 karma

It is, and I think its just the way the photo was taken and the flash reflecting against the cataract. I have stellate cataracts (well, only one now), or as a child I was told they were "snowflakes".

sativan1 karma

...a little black spot on the sun today...

snigglebyte2 karma

One of my favourite songs!

i_ask_sex_questions1 karma

How has your condition affected your sex life, if at all. How many times have you had sex in 2013?

snigglebyte3 karma

I've tried to come up with some witty retort here, but failing. Suffice to say, its a good ice-breaker and seems to get a fair bit of male interest..

ClunkingBuckets1 karma

Have any children outright asked you about your eyes in public? For that matter, has anyone outright asked about them, or does it seem to be taboo around new people?

snigglebyte1 karma

Generally don't get asked about them by children or anyone really. The most people will say is "open your eyes", "why are your eyes closed/squinting?" etc. The ones who are polite about it, I just say I have an eye problem. The rude ones I just ignore.

phishf00d1 karma

So, how come the reluctance to have both eyes done? Is the op particularly harsh or is it like old hip replacements where the replacement has a finite lifespan and once it wears out you are done?

snigglebyte2 karma

The original plan was to hold out as long as possible before doing any sort of surgery on either eye as there are considerable complications. I have corneal degeneration in both eyes so there are risks it could be damaged even more during an operation. There is no guarantee surgery would work, or that it would improve my vision at all.

The only reason I had surgery on my right eye to begin with was because of the sudden thickening of the cataract. The surgery itself was only supposed to take 2 hours, but the first implant tore the bag/lens when it was put in so had to go with the backup implant and the entire operation took 4 hours. It was extremely painful for weeks afterwards, constant problems with maintaining ocular pressure and about a month post-op I developed PVD (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posterior_vitreous_detachment ) so now I see a lot of black dots swarming around in my right eye. Its made me swat at a lot of flies/bugs that aren't really there!

The_Other_Olsen1 karma

Did you know your eyes resemble the Sharingan and look pretty cool?

snigglebyte1 karma

Thanks! Never heard of that before, but Sharingan do look pretty cool!

Sleepynomad0 karma

I hope this doesn't sound offensive. But have you ever heard of Naruto? It's an anime and one of the characters Sasuke has eyes that look like this that give him mad powers.

snigglebyte1 karma

I haven't, but will look it up! No offense taken :)

Dompont-4 karma

I need to see a pic of your eyes. I don't know why but I NEED to see em.

rgb0031 karma

the description has images

snigglebyte2 karma

I'm new-ish to Reddit, but I knew enough that I couldn't do this without pics!