The Last Alaskans: Arctic Refuge is now back on our screens to take us through the reality of families living within national wildlife.
Set in Alaska, Animal Planet follows the daily rituals of four families living in isolation among thousands of native animals. The show highlights life in the state, years after the US government banned human occupation in the refuge in 1980. And now only residents living in seven permitted cabins are allowed to remain there.
The recent episode shown involved Ray Lewis and his daughters hunting for meat to eat. However fans are now curious about the reason behind the droopy eyes of Ray’s wife Cindy and their daughters Molly, Emma and Sarah. So what is the eye condition? Read on to find out more about their genetics.
What condition does Cindy Lewis and daughters have?
- Blepharophimosis, ptosis, epicanthus inversus (BPEI)
Molly, Emma and Sarah all have the BPEI syndrome, which is considered a rare condition.
People living with this condition have a narrow eye opening, droopy eyelids, an upward fold of the skin of the lower eyelid near the eye’s inner corner, and a significant distance between the inner eye corners.
According to rarediseases.org, it can cause difficulty in opening the eyes fully and may affect quality of vision. Their mother Cindy passed on the genetic condition to her daughters, having been born with it herself. It has been reported that the risk of passing the gene from a parent is 50% for each pregnancy.
Molly responded to fans questioning their eyes in a Q&A when the show first aired:
I’m sorry if it looks weird to some of you, but that’s your problem. Most of you all have “normal” eyes so why does it matter to you so much? Don’t you have anything better to do with your lives than worry about others’?
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The Lewis family on The Last Alaskans
The Lewis daughters all grew up in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Their father was a Michigan native, and had left behind America and fully taken on life in Alaska. The family were later seen building a houseboat on the show, which meant they ended up spending less time in the refuge and more time in the houseboat.
They became a firm favourite with viewers, and were seen in Season 1 and 2. However they were not brought back for Season 3. This was reportedly because of their increased time spent on the houseboat, while the show being focused on the Arctic refuge.
Where is the Lewis family now?
While Ray and Cindy Lewis are now believed to be living on their houseboat with the youngest daughter Sarah, their other daughters have moved on to start their own lives – however they’ve not strayed too far from the nature of their upbringing.
Molly, the oldest sister, has brought her roots into her career and is now a wilderness guide in Oregon, and the second oldest daughter Emma is training sled dogs away from home.
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WATCH THE LAST ALASKANS: ARCTIC REFUGE EVERY MONDAY AT 8PM ON ANIMAL PLANET