Differential diagnosis of anterior segment cysts by ultrasound biomicroscopy

Ophthalmology. 1999 Nov;106(11):2131-5. doi: 10.1016/S0161-6420(99)90495-5.


Background: To describe the ultrasound biomicroscopic (UBM) features of anterior segment cysts.

Design: A retrospective case series.

Participants: One hundred eighteen eyes with anterior segment cysts examined by UBM at The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary between August 1992 and November 1997 were included in this study.

Intervention: The authors reviewed demographic and diagnostic data from the medical record including ocular and medical history, age, race, gender, and intraocular pressure. Ultrasound data concerning the type, number, position, and acoustic characteristics of cysts were recorded. The authors then correlated the written, clinical, and UBM characteristics.

Results: One hundred eyes (92.6%) had neuroepithelial cysts. Ninety (83.3%) of these had primary neuroepithelial cysts, 10 (9.3%) had cysts associated with uveitis, 7 (6.5%) had implantation cysts, and 1 (0.9%) had a cavitated ciliary body tumor. Neuroepithelial cysts typically were round or ovoid, thin-walled, and echolucent. Of the 90 eyes with primary neuroepithelial cysts, 56 (62.2%) had 3 or fewer cysts; multiple cysts (>3 per eye) were found in 34 eyes (37.8%). The multiple cysts occupied more than 180 degrees in 12 patients (13.3%). Primary neuroepithelial cysts were located at the iridociliary junction (74.2%), pars plicata (14.0%), pars plana (6.8%), and iris (5.0%). Implantation cysts (seven eyes) tended to have thicker walls and two contained a copious, echogenic material.

Conclusion: The UBM results provide important information regarding location and extent of anterior segment cystic lesions. Ultrasound characteristics may help differentiate between neuroepithelial, implantation, and neoplastic cysts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anterior Eye Segment / diagnostic imaging*
  • Anterior Eye Segment / pathology
  • Child
  • Cysts / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cysts / pathology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Eye Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Eye Diseases / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography