Confocal microscopy in the iridocorneal endothelial syndrome

Auguste G.Y. Chiou, Stephen C. Kaufman, Roger W. Beuerman, Toshihiko Ohta, Volkan Yaylali, Herbert E. Kaufman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Aims - To report the appearances of iridocorneal endothelial (ICE) syndrome from real time, white light confocal microscopy. Methods - Three consecutive patients, each with ICE syndrome, were examined prospectively. Corneal specular and confocal microscopic examinations were performed in all three patients. In the first patient, a penetrating keratoplasty was performed and the cornea was examined by light and scanning electron microscopy. No surgery was performed in the remaining two patients. Results - In the first patient corneal oedema prevented endothelial specular microscopy. Confocal microscopy performed before penetrating keratoplasty successfully revealed abnormal epithelial-like endothelial cells. Histological examinations of the cornea following penetrating keratoplasty revealed the presence of multilayered endothelial cells with epithelial features (microvilli). In the remaining two patients, specular microscopy showed the presence of ICE cells with typical dark/light reversal. Confocal microscopy demonstrated groups of endothelial cells with epitheloid appearances. In all three patients, the contralateral endothelial appearance was normal by specular and confocal microscopy, except for moderate endothelial polymegathism in one patient. Epithelial-like endothelial cells were characterised by prominent nuclei on confocal microscopy. Conclusions - The application of confocal microscopy indicates that the ICE syndrome is characterised by epitheloid changes in the endothelium. Confocal microscopy may be used to diagnose the ICE syndrome by demonstrating epithelial-like endothelial cells with hyperreflective nuclei. This technique is especially of value in cases of corneal oedema, since specular microscopy may fail to image the endothelium in such cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)697-702
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Ophthalmology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


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