Hay-Wells syndrome, also known as ankyloblepharon-ectodermal dysplasia-clefting (AEC) syndrome, is a rare inherited disorder that belongs to a group of disorders known as the ectodermal dysplasias. Major characteristics of Hay-Wells syndrome include sparse, coarse, wiry hair; small, sparse eyelashes; excess bands of fibrous tissue that cause the edges (margins) of the upper and lower eyelids to fuse together (ankyloblepharon filiforme adnatum); cleft palate; and less often cleft lip. Hay-Wells syndrome is inherited as an autosomal dominant trait.
The ectodermal dysplasias are a group of more than 150 related disorders that result from abnormalities during early embryonic development. Ectodermal dysplasias typically affect the hair, teeth, nails, and/or skin. The ectodermal dysplasias are inherited disorders, but the pattern of inheritance is varied.