Expecting parents undergo prenatal care with regular checks and prenatal testing to ensure both the mother and the baby are healthy. For California parents Michael Lopez and Summer Hollingsworth, the birth of their twin boys, Jameson and Jackson Lopez, left them in shock when they discovered they were born missing organs: eyes. Struggling to make ends meet since the birth of the twins in May, the couple seeks donations to help cover their weekly appointments with endocrinologists, neurologists, and ophthalmologists.
The couple recalls being dumbfounded at the twins' state of health, since previous sonograms showed all signs of two perfectly healthy infant boys. "I was definitely surprised and overwhelmed with emotion when I found out they had a condition," Hollingsworth told News 10 ABC. "I had to pull myself out of the slump and deal with things the best I can, and realize I have three other kids who need me, and I need to deal with things the best I can."
Twins Jackson and Jameson were born with anophthalmia, a rare genetic condition in which the patient is born without one or both eyes. Jameson, the youngest twin, has no left eye but is able to see out of his right eye with difficulty. Meanwhile, the oldest, Jackson, is completely blind, as he was born with an underdeveloped right eye, known as microthalmia, and completely without the other.
According to the National Eye Institute, anophthalmia and microphthalmia are brought on by genetic mutations and abnormal chromosomes. Environmental factors such as exposure to X-rays, chemicals, drugs, pesticides, toxins, radiation, or viruses, increase the risk of these rare genetic disorders, but research is not conclusive. Although there is no treatment for severe anophthalmia or microphthalmia that will create a new eye or restore vision, patients will still need to visit several specialists ranging from pediatricians to those who specialize in prosthetic devices for the eye. These devices are not intended to restore vision.
Currently, Lopez and his wife Hollingsworth travel to San Francisco each week for appointments with several specialists, but the trips are becoming costly. The couple has had to take a leave of absence from their jobs because they go to San Francisco four to six times a month for the twins’ doctor appointments, according to their GoFundMe page. In addition, gas costs and medical bills are piling up, along with diapers and formula.
"There was a punch in the stomach," said Lopez about meeting his boys and realizing something was wrong, the NY Daily News reported. However, the couple continues to stay positive, along with their three other children, with what the future has in store. They see the twins getting better every day.
The couples hopes to raise $50,000 on their GoFundMe page. Currently the page has $10,165.00 raised. “I am asking for donations in any amount that you can give, even if it is just a dollar,” reads the page.