Iridocorneal endothelial syndrome is a rare type of glaucoma that commonly occurs only in one eye. This syndrome causes the cells on the rear area of the cornea to spread across the drainage tissue of the eyes and the iris. This leads to an increase in the eye pressure that can be damaging to the optic nerve. These cells also develop adhesions that attach the iris to the cornea which can further block the drainage channels.
Iridocorneal endothelial syndrome is found to affect women more than men and is usually diagnosed in midlife. Symptoms of this condition include blurry vision upon waking up and seeing halos around lights. This syndrome is hard to treat that even laser therapy can hardly be effective. Usually, iridocorneal endothelial syndrome is treated with long term medication and filtering surgeries.
3 Main Features of Iridocorneal Endothelial Syndrome (ICE)
Iridocorneal endothelial syndrome (ICE) is considered to be a rare condition. Its three main features include:
- changes in the iris
- form of glaucoma
- swelling of the cornea
This syndrome is associated with a group of conditions that affect the corneal cells and the iris. This involves cells binding from the cornea to the iris which causes corneal swelling and distortion of the iris and the pupil.
As these corneal cells migrate, they block drainage tissues and trap fluid in the eye, causing eye pressure build-up or glaucoma.
Who Is at Risk for Iridocorneal Endothelial Syndrome (ICE)?
Research shows that this condition affects more women than men, more specifically, light-skinned women. Usually, a person may develop this syndrome at middle age and affects only one eye.
The causes of ICE are not yet fully understood and proven. Although, some ophthalmologists suggest that a virus such as herpes simplex may trigger this condition. This virus can then cause corneal swelling.
ICE Symptoms and Diagnosis
People with ICE may experience eye pain or hazy vision in one eye or see noticeable changes in the iris or the pupil.
To diagnose ICE, an ophthalmologist will have to perform a complete eye exam followed by some other tests. The results of these test will normally show:
- corneal swelling
- increased eye pressure (glaucoma)
- changes in the iris
How Can ICE Be Treated?
There is currently no approach to stop ICE from progressing. Treatment options are only usually focused on controlling glaucoma. Glaucoma treatment includes medications or surgery to help reduce pressure in the eye.
Your eye doctor may prescribe a medication to reduce the swelling of the cornea. In severe cases, a cornea transplant may be required.