17 Year Old Gives Birth to Baby With No Eyes

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Reported by Michal Ortner

Brania Jackson, a new 17-year-old mother, gave birth to her son on Nov. 10, 2014. When Jackson first held her son, he did not cry or open his eyes. When doctors examined the newborn, they discovered that there were no eyes behind his eyelids.

“When they opened his eyelids to do an eye examination, there was darkness underneath,” said Dr. M. Jawad Javed.

Physicians of OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria were surprised that Jordy Jackson was born without his eyes. Jordy’s condition is called anophthalmia—a very rare congenital disorder. Doctors believe the condition could be caused by genetic error.

“I didn’t know what to do, didn’t know what to say, didn’t know what to feel emotionally,” said Jackson.

Alongside her boyfriend, 18-year-old Kyle Jackson, Brania is still attending high school, learning to tend to a newborn, and figuring out all the aspects of Jordy’s condition. Currently, the baby is participating in a rigorous schedule of visual, occupational, and physical therapies.

Jordy, unlike other children with visual impairments, was born with no perception of light at all. He is also undergoing some cosmetic treatments at the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary at the University of Illinois College. These treatments will eventually lead to prosthetic eyes—though they will not provide real vision.

Family and friends have rallied around the young family in support and have called Jordy “a blessing.” The young mother and father plan to learn Braille—another challenge they have gladly accepted on behalf of their child.

Niatese Giles, Jordy’s grandmother, says that there are many things that she wishes her grandchild could experience through sight. “All the people he loves and who love him,” she said. “But he will know us by feeling us.”

Many family members plan to follow Brania’s example by having an “I love Jordy” raised tattoo that can be felt. Her tattoo is located on her right shoulder blade. Giles plans to have the words encircled by an eye when she gets her own ink, “Because I’ll be his eyes,” she said.

Giles, along with the family, believes that the abnormality is a blessing in disguise because Jordy will not see the more cruel aspects of the world. “He’ll be more genuine than a lot of us. He won’t have to feel the pain that we go through. That’s a beautiful thing,” she said.

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