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What are pigment dispersion syndrome and pigmentary glaucoma?

Pigment dispersion syndrome (PDS) occurs when pigment granules that normally adhere to the back of the iris (the colored part of the eye) flake off into the clear fluid produced in the eye, called the aqueous humor.

Sometimes these granules flow toward the drainage canals of the eye, slowly clogging them and raising eye pressure. This rise in eye pressure can damage the optic nerve, the nerve in the back of the eye that carries visual images to the brain. If this happens pigment dispersion syndrome becomes pigmentary glaucoma.

Studies have shown that about one-third of people who have pigment dispersion syndrome go on to develop pigmentary glaucoma. Both conditions usually occur in 30-to-50-year-old white, nearsighted males. However, neither condition is limited exclusively to these individuals. PDS occur less often in women, and it is more likely to progress to pigmentary glaucoma in men.

Pigmentary glaucoma should be treated in the same way that other glaucomas are treated. The primary goal of treatment is to prevent further optic nerve damage, by lowering intraocular pressure (IOP). Eye care professionals use treatment options such as eye drops and other medications, laser surgery, and filtering surgery.

Here is more information on pigmentary glaucoma

Last reviewed on October 29, 2017

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