The sclera is the tough 'white' of the eye. The sclera gives the eye its overall shape and strength. A child can be born with most of the normally clear cornea hazy and white, like the sclera. This is called Sclerocornea. If only the central part of the cornea is hazy then this is often called Peter's Anomaly.
Most cases of Peter's Anomaly occur by chance. Sometimes the condition runs in families. A child may then 'inherit' the condition from one parent. This is called autosomal dominant inheritance. Occasionally the condition can occur for the first time in a family as a result of marrying a cousin or a more distant relative. This is called recessive inheritance.
When a baby is born doctors examine the eyes to see if they are normal. If any problems are noticed they can then ask an eye doctor to perform further tests. Sometimes parents also notice (by the way their child acts) that their child's vision is reduced. If they discuss their concerns with their Family Doctor an assessment can be arranged. It is usually difficult to examine a newborn's eyes closely. It is a lot easier if the child is asleep. With the help of an anaesthetist a young baby can be briefly anesthetised. While the baby is asleep an eye doctor can examine the eyes more closely. This can help confirm that the cornea is hazy. It can also make sure there are no other problems with the eyes. The eyes can also be checked to see if the child might benefit from spectacles.