The pathogenesis of glaucoma in Sturge-Weber syndrome

Ophthalmology. 1978 Mar;85(3):276-86. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(78)35667-0.


What is the cause of glaucoma in Sturge-Weber syndrome? Looking for the answer to this puzzling question, we examined 21 patients with the disease. Sixteen patients had gglaucoma: three bilateral and 13 unilateral. Episcleral hemangiomas were visible in all glaucomatous eyes. In general, the more extensive the hemangioma, the more severe was the glaucoma. During gonioscopy, blood could easily be made to reflux into Schlemm's canal of glaucomatous eyes. Often the canal separated into multiple fine channels. Episcleral venous pressure, which we measured in 11 patients, was high in all glaucomatous eyes. These observations suggest that glaucoma in Sturge-Weber syndrome is caused by elevated episcleral venous pressure. Most likely, veins draining aqueous from the canal of Schlemm are part of an intrascleral or episcleral hemangioma. The canal of Schlemm itself may be part of the hemangioma. Arteriovenous shunts in the hemangioma raise episcleral venous pressure, which in turn elevates intraocular pressure.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Angiomatosis / complications*
  • Child
  • Eye Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Eye Neoplasms / complications*
  • Glaucoma / etiology*
  • Glaucoma / physiopathology
  • Gonioscopy
  • Hemangioma / blood supply
  • Hemangioma / complications*
  • Humans
  • Intraocular Pressure
  • Male
  • Sclera / blood supply
  • Sturge-Weber Syndrome / complications*
  • Trabecular Meshwork / physiopathology
  • Venous Pressure