Pseudoexfoliation syndrome for the comprehensive ophthalmologist. Intraocular and systemic manifestations

Ophthalmology. 1998 Jun;105(6):951-68. doi: 10.1016/S0161-6420(98)96020-1.


Background: Renewed interest in pseudoexfoliation syndrome (PEX) may be attributed to an increased awareness of many clinical risks not only for open-angle glaucoma and its recent recognition as a generalized disorder. This review summarizes the range of intraocular and extraocular manifestations. Involvement of all tissues of the anterior segment of the eye results in a spectrum of intraocular complications that have management implication for all practicing ophthalmologists.

Design: The study design was a review.

Methods: Clinical diagnosis depends on biomicroscopy, biocytology, and laser-tyndallometry. Laboratory research methods range from light and electron microscopy, to immunohistochemical and molecular biologic approaches.

Observations: Clinical-histopathologic correlations focus on the involvement of lens (PEX-phacopathy), zonular apparatus (zonulopathy), ciliary body (cyclopathy), iris (iridopathy), trabecular meshwork (trabeculopathy), and cornea (corneal endotheliopathy) leading to the following complications: (1) open-angle glaucoma as well as angle-closure glaucoma due to pupillary and ciliary block; (2) phacodonesis, lens dislocation, and increased incidence of vitreous loss in extracapsular cataract surgery caused by alterations of the zonular apparatus and its insertion into the ciliary body and lens; (3) blood-aqueous barrier breakdown (pseudouveitis), anterior chamber hypoxia, iris stromal hemorrhage, pigment epithelial melanin dispersion, poor or asymmetric pupillary dilatation, and formation of posterior synechiae due to involvement of all cell populations of the iris; and (4) early diffuse corneal endothelial decompensation explained by a damaged and numerically reduced endothelium.

Conclusions: In view of the multitude of clinical complications, PEX is of relevance to comprehensive ophthalmologists, including specialists in glaucoma, cataract, cornea, neuro-ophthalmology, and retina. Special attention to the risks associated with PEX is advised before, during, and after surgery.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anterior Eye Segment / pathology*
  • Blood-Aqueous Barrier
  • Ciliary Body / pathology
  • Corneal Diseases / etiology
  • Corneal Diseases / pathology
  • Endothelium, Corneal / pathology
  • Exfoliation Syndrome / complications*
  • Exfoliation Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Exfoliation Syndrome / therapy
  • Eye Diseases / etiology*
  • Eye Diseases / pathology
  • Glaucoma, Angle-Closure / etiology
  • Glaucoma, Angle-Closure / pathology
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle / etiology
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle / pathology
  • Humans
  • Iris Diseases / etiology
  • Iris Diseases / pathology
  • Lens Diseases / etiology
  • Lens Diseases / pathology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Uveal Diseases / etiology
  • Uveal Diseases / pathology