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Iris atrophy with hypoperfusion and microneovascularisation.
  1. A. M. Brooks and
  2. W. E. Gillies
  1. Glaucoma Investigation and Research Unit, Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


    A series of 17 patients with stromal atrophy, hypoperfusion, and microneovascularisation of the iris investigated in the Glaucoma Investigation and Research Unit are described, and their iris angiograms were compared with those of normal irides of patients in the same age group seen in general clinics. In all but one of the 17 cases this iris atrophy was associated with glaucoma or ocular hypertension, which appeared to be secondary to the iris changes. The condition was bilateral and presented a typical slit-lamp appearance, with subtle evidence of microneovascularisation. There was neither history nor clinical evidence of previous trauma, heterochromia, or intraocular inflammation. The commonest form of iris atrophy affected the inner third of the iris stroma in a patchy manner, often with sparing above. However, diffuse atrophy occurred in two cases, and there were two cases of 'senile tears' of the iris. Some accompanying atrophy of the pigment epithelium was usual but less prominent. The changes on fluorescein angiography of the iris included the late appearance of dye with a long arteriovenous circulation time, fewer arteries than normal with sectorial hypoperfusion, leakage of dye from the pupil margin and peripupillary neovascularisation, stromal tufts, and sometimes more complex stromal microneovascularisation. An expanded prominent lesser vascular circle was a common feature of the condition. The condition is bilateral and distinct from other forms of iris atrophy. In all cases the iris changes appeared to be secondary to the vascular hypoperfusion and were not consistently associated with evidence of gross vascular disease. All patients had grey (blue) irides, and this may be an aetiological factor. The condition appears common enough to form a significant group of glaucoma patients and to be a separate clinical entity.

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