Clinical features of the congenital vitreoretinopathies

Eye (Lond). 2008 Oct;22(10):1233-42. doi: 10.1038/eye.2008.38. Epub 2008 Feb 29.


The inherited vitreoretinal degenerations or vitreoretinopathies are characterized by congenital and acquired disorders of the eye including early onset cataract, anomalies of the vitreous manifesting as optically empty vitreous, course fibrils, and membranes, and retinal detachment. These diseases include Stickler syndrome types I (STL1) and II (STL2), usually caused by mutations in COL2A1 and COL11A1 respectively. Wagner syndrome (WGN1) is associated with mutations in versican (CSPG2) and snowflake vitreoretinal degeneration (SVD) with a mutation in a potassium channel (KCNJ13). The cataract is often cortical and may be wedge-shaped, but does not distinguish between the different syndromes. The congenital vitreous defect is usually characterized as fibrillar degeneration (STL2, WGN1, and SVD) or as a vestigial membrane just behind the lens (STL1). Peripheral chorioretinal atrophy with nyctalopia is prominent in WGN1. Intraretinal crystals may be visible in the periphery using a contact lens in SVD and corneal guttae, a flat appearance to the optic nerve head and mild atrophy of the peripheral retinal pigment epithelium are also common features. Other vitreoretinal degenerations including a number of chondrodysplasias in addition to STL1 and STL2, enhanced S-cone syndrome caused by mutations in NR2E3, and autosomal dominant vitreoretinochoroidopathy caused by mutations in VMD2 are discussed. Patients with unexplained early onset cataract or retinal detachment should be carefully evaluated for vitreoretinal degeneration. Theses diseases share overlapping clinical features with common complex traits affecting the eye (myopia, corneal endothelial dystrophy, lattice degeneration), and may provide insight into the mechanisms of common eye diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cataract / etiology
  • Collagen Type II / genetics
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Humans
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Retinal Degeneration / genetics
  • Retinal Detachment / etiology
  • Retinal Diseases / genetics*
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa / genetics
  • Syndrome
  • Vitreous Body / abnormalities*


  • COL2A1 protein, human
  • Collagen Type II