The cornea is the clear window in front of the coloured part of the eye (the iris). It has five layers to it and the inner layer is called the endothelium. The endothelium is a single layer of cells that do not regenerate. Its purpose is to pump fluid out of the cornea, effectively preventing it from becoming waterlogged.
In iridocorneal endothelial (ICE) syndrome, there is a dysfunction with this inner layer of cells. Instead of being a single layer of non-regenerating cells, it starts to replicate and spread. This has three main effects in the eye:
No one knows for sure what causes ICE syndrome. It is sporadic in presentation and not passed on genetically (so it cannot be passed on from parent to child). It is more common in women and is most frequently detected between the ages of 20 and 50 years. It almost always only affects one eye.
The initial presentation of ICE syndrome patients may be due to monocular pain (from corneal edema or elevated intraocular pressure from angle-closure), blurry vision, or iris changes.
Your eye specialist will conduct a thorough ocular assessment to diagnose the disease.
Lowering the pressure with eye drops (and sometimes laser or surgery) can help slow or stop the process of glaucoma and preserve patients’ vision. The range of treatments is thus similar to those for the more common forms of glaucoma.
As with other types of glaucoma, regular review by an eye specialist is critical to ensure that you do not develop substantial vision impairment.