Glaucoma with Descemet's membrane detachment in five horses

Michala de Linde Henriksen, Noelle La Croix, David A. Wilkie, Mary Lassaline-Utter, Karen R. Brantman, Gillian L. Beamer, Leandro B.C. Teixeira, Richard R. Dubielzig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Purpose: To describe the clinical and histopathologic features of glaucoma associated with Descemet's membrane (DM) detachment in five horses without prior history of intraocular surgery. Animals studied: Three Appaloosa horses and two Thoroughbreds were included in this study. The affected horses ranged in age from 16 to 27 years and presented with severe diffuse corneal edema. Procedure: Five eyes were enucleated due to intraocular hypertension and/or chronic corneal ulceration. The enucleated globes were evaluated by the Comparative Ocular Pathology Laboratory of Wisconsin (COPLOW). Each globe was routinely processed for histopathology and analyzed by light microscopy. A histologic diagnosis of glaucoma was reached by demonstrating a loss of optic nerve axonal tissue by measuring neurofilament-immunopositive axons with automated image analysis software. Results: All five horses presented with unilateral severe diffuse corneal edema that had developed between 2 and 16 weeks prior to enucleation. Intraocular pressures for the affected eyes were between 9 and 87 mmHg prior to enucleation. Descemet's membrane detachment was identified histopathologically in all five globes (5/5, 100%). All five eyes had an avascular spindle cell proliferation filling the space between the displaced peripheral DM and the corneal stroma. Neurofilament immunostaining revealed axonal loss consistent with glaucoma. Conclusion: Equine glaucoma may be associated with Descemet's membrane detachment. This detachment and glaucoma is a possible differential diagnosis for severe equine corneal edema. In this case series, an eye with a DM detachment had a poor prognosis for retention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-279
Number of pages7
JournalVeterinary Ophthalmology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists


  • Descemet's membrane detachment
  • corneal edema
  • equine
  • glaucoma
  • ocular hypertension
  • ophthalmology


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