Treatment and histopathology of a congenital vitreous cyst

Ophthalmology. 1998 May;105(5):825-30. doi: 10.1016/S0161-6420(98)95020-5.


Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the treatment efficacy of a congenital vitreous cyst and to examine the cyst histopathologically to determine its cellular makeup and possible origin.

Study design: The study design was a case report, including a clinicopathologic correlation.

Intervention: A 35-year-old woman with a known vitreous cyst since childhood became increasingly troubled by its symptoms. The cyst was treated initially with argon laser photocoagulation. Vitrectomy subsequently was performed because the deflated cyst remained near the visual axis. Histopathologic studies included light and electron microscopy; immunocytochemistry for actin and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP); and enzyme histochemistry for carbonic anhydrase (CA).

Results: The cyst was composed of a single layer of heavily pigmented cells with a thick basement membrane along the internal borders of the cells. Ultrastructurally, the cells were connected with tight junctions, had microvillous processes at their apices, and contained numerous large melanosomes in various stages of maturity, including premelanosomes. Immunochemistry showed the cells were positive for actin but negative for GFAP. Enzyme histochemical staining for CA also was strongly positive.

Conclusions: The confinement of this cyst to the region of Cloquet's canal, the presence of a Mittendorf's dot, the cyst's existence for many years, and the finding of pigment epithelial-type cells having immature melanosomes (a feature not seen after birth in normal pigment epithelium) lead the authors to believe that this cyst was a congenital remnant of the primary hyaloidal system. Because pigmented cells are not normally present in this part of the eye, the cyst was a choristoma of the primary hyaloidal system.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism
  • Adult
  • Carbonic Anhydrases / metabolism
  • Choristoma / pathology
  • Cysts / congenital*
  • Cysts / metabolism
  • Cysts / pathology
  • Cysts / surgery*
  • Eye Diseases / congenital
  • Eye Diseases / metabolism
  • Eye Diseases / pathology
  • Eye Diseases / surgery
  • Female
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Laser Coagulation*
  • Vitrectomy*
  • Vitreous Body / metabolism
  • Vitreous Body / pathology
  • Vitreous Body / surgery*


  • Actins
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein
  • Carbonic Anhydrases