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Insights on Iridocorneal Endothelial Syndrome

Posted on January 11th, 2018

Viral infections such as herpes simplex can lead to many vision health complications, including a rare eye condition called Iridocorneal Endothelial Syndrome. Most often affecting middle-aged women, it can often lead to glaucoma. FYidoctors examines the disease, which is also referred to as ICE.


ICE is a group of conditions characterized by changes to the iris, swelling in the cornea, and an end result of glaucoma. The syndrome almost always involves cells moving from the cornea to the iris. Of those at risk, women are more often diagnosed with the syndrome than men.


ICE most often takes hold in midlife, and typically in one eye only. When it does, cells are lost from the cornea, causing it to swell. Because of this, the iris and pupil can become distorted. Also, when the corneal cells move, they can block fluid from draining properly through the eye’s microscopic drainage channels. This blockage causes pressure in the eye to build, leading to glaucoma.


Cause Behind ICE

Although it’s not fully known what causes ICE, some specialists believe a virus triggers the syndrome, causing the cornea to swell.


Those who suffer from ICE may experience pain or blurry vision in one eye or notice changes in the iris or pupil. An examination will show if there are any changes in the iris, swelling of the cornea, or increased pressure in the eye (which can indicate glaucoma).



To diagnose the syndrome, an eye doctor will perform a complete eye exam and some other basic tests. Unfortunately, there is no way to stop the progression of ICE, although treatment is usually focused on the management of glaucoma. This includes medication or surgery to help reduce pressure in the eye. In some cases, a corneal transplant may be necessary.


To learn more about glaucoma, read our blog. It is important to maintain regular eye exams. You can visit one of our eye care specialists at your nearest FYidoctors location.

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