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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Norrie disease

Other Names for this Disease
  • Anderson-Warburg syndrome
  • Atrophia bulborum hereditaria
  • Episkopi blindness
  • Fetal iritis syndrome
  • NDP
More Names
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Your Question

I have 2 sons, a 12 year old and 22 year old. Both were blind after the birth and diagnosed with Norrie. Do you know if any progress has been made anywhere on earth to restore vision including but not limited to stem cell treatments?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

How might Norrie disease be treated?

Because most males with Norrie disease (ND) have complete retinal detachment at the time of birth, surgical intervention after that time is typically not effective for preserving sight.[1] Furthermore, we were unable to find reports about restoring sight to affected individuals after sight has been lost. Individuals without complete retinal detachment may benefit from intervention;[1] however, vitrectomy and laser photocoagulation are reportedly challenging and often associated with poor outcome.[2] A more recent case report reported evidence that immediate, prophylactic laser treatment at birth may prevent retinal detachment and blindness.[2] The individual described in the study was known to be at risk and was diagnosed before birth via amniocentesis, and thus laser treatment shortly after birth was able to be performed.[2] The authors of this report state that although the results they achieved are encouraging, longer observation of a larger number of patients is needed to determine the effectivness of this new approach.[2]

In some cases, surgery may be required when progression of the condition leads to increased pressure within the eye. Rarely, enucleation (removal) of the eye may be necessary to control pain.[1]

For individuals with hearing loss, hearing aid augmentation is usually successful until middle or late adulthood. Cochlear implants may be considered when function is severely impaired.[1]
Last updated: 4/18/2012

Where can I find up-to-date information about potential treatments for Norrie disease?

You can find relevant articles on treatments for Norrie disease through PubMed, a searchable database of biomedical journal articles. Although not all of the articles are available for free online, most articles listed in PubMed have a summary available. To obtain the full article, contact a medical/university library or your local library for interlibrary loan. You can also order articles online through the publisher’s Web site. Using "Norrie disease treatment" as your search term should help you locate articles. Click here to view a search:

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) Web site has a page for locating libraries in your area that can provide direct access to these journals (print or online). The Web page also describes how you can get these articles through interlibrary loan and Loansome Doc (an NLM document-ordering service). You can access this page at the following link You can also contact the NLM toll-free at 888-346-3656 to locate libraries in your area.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health, through the National Library of Medicine, developed to provide patients, family members, and members of the public with current information on clinical research studies. Although there may not be trials listed for this condition at a particular point in time, this site is updated regularly and may be checked often. To find trials involving Norrie disease, click on the link above and use "Norrie disease" as your search term. After you click on a study, review its "eligibility" criteria to determine its appropriateness. Use the study’s contact information to learn more.
Last updated: 4/18/2012

  • Katherine B Sims. NDP-Related Retinopathies. GeneReviews. July 23, 2009; Accessed 4/18/2012.
  • Clement C. Chow et al. Laser Photocoagulation at Birth Prevents Blindness in Norrie's Disease Diagnosed Using Amniocentesis. Ophthalmology. December 2010; 117(12):2402-2406.