Moebius Syndrome is a rare congenital disorder which sadly to date has no cure. We believe there are only around 200 cases in the UK, so not many people have heard of this condition.
The main features of Moebius are determined by the absence of the 6th and 7th cranial nerves, which control facial expression. These nerves allow us to blink and move the eyes laterally and give us the ability to smile.
Other nerves and muscles can also be affected by the condition, causing the following:-
- Difficulty in chewing and swallowing which lead to respiratory/dental complications
- Speech impediments/limited movement of the tongue (or deformity of the tongue)
- Cleft palate or high arched palate
- Hearing difficulties and sensitivity to loud noises
- Eye sensitivity (due to the inability to blink or squint)
- Strabismus (crossed eyes)
- Missing limbs, fingers, toes or webbed fingers and/or toes
- Club feet or small limbs
The vast majority of Moebius cases are sporadic, however, there are reported cases of familial inheritance suggesting a possible genetic basis to this syndrome. There are also reports of patients with Moebius and an associated chromosomal defect indicating that several chromosomal regions may be harbouring a gene responsible for this condition.