What is Pigment Dispersion Syndrome?

Author: Premier Eye Associates

Pigment dispersion syndrome is an uncommon condition that involves pigment coming off of the iris in the eye and being deposited on other parts of the eye. This condition requires an eye doctor to examine the overall eye health before being diagnosed. Complications from this condition can include blurred vision and secondary glaucoma.

Pigment in the Iris

Normally, the iris, which is the colored part of the eye, contains lots of pigmented cells. This pigment will give the iris the color and determine the eye color.

In a healthy eye, the pigment is contained within the iris and does not spread onto other structures.


Pigment Elsewhere in the Eye

If the loose pigment is found in the eye, it is likely that it originated from the iris. In the front of the eye, the iris is the source of nearly all pigment and colored cells.

If the iris becomes damaged or atrophies, the pigment can become free and float to other structures in the eyes.

If the pigment attaches to the back of the cornea, it will form a line of a pigment called a Kruckenberg spindle.

If the pigment settles into the trabecular meshwork or the drain of the eye, it will become darkened and can form a dense line called Sampoleosi’s line.

A pigment can also remain free-floating in the front of the eye and float in the anterior chamber as loose pigmented cells.


Diagnosing Pigment Dispersion Syndrome

When the iris pigment is freed and spreads throughout the front of the eye, it is likely due to pigment dispersion syndrome.

To make this diagnosis, an eye doctor will need to evaluate the eye in an eye exam and use a special procedure called gonioscopy to visualize the drainage system of the eye.

Usually, this diagnosis is made when an individual is in their twenties and frequently is diagnosed when there are no symptoms from the pigment dispersion syndrome.


Complications of Pigment Dispersion Syndrome

As the pigment is freed from the iris and settles on other structures in the eye, it can cause problems over time.

If the pigment remains free in the anterior chamber, it can impede vision – especially with head movement.

If the pigment settles into the drainage system of the eye, it can cause the eye pressure to increase and lead to secondary glaucoma.


Glaucoma from Pigment Dispersion Syndrome

Most cases of glaucoma have no direct cause and are considered to be primary glaucoma. However, if a known condition is leading to glaucoma it is considered secondary glaucoma.

A common cause of secondary glaucoma is pigment dispersion syndrome. As the drainage system and trabecular meshwork of the eye are clogged with pigment, the eye pressure increases.

Since the fluid in the front of the eye cannot escape as easily, it will increase intraocular pressure and can lead to glaucoma over time.

Secondary glaucoma from pigment dispersion syndrome is treated using the same medications as other types of glaucoma. These eye drops will lower eye pressure and reduce the likelihood of damage from glaucoma.



Dr. Anthony Spina and the staff of Premier Eye Associates specialize in glasses, soft contact lenses, hard contact lenses, and medical eye exams. Call our eye doctor in Auburn, AL today at (334) 539-5391 or schedule an appointment online if you are interested in Pigment Dispersion Syndrome.  Our optometrist provides only the highest quality eye care services amongst eye doctors in the Auburn Alabama area.

Proud Members

Auburn-Opelika’s Best Eye Doctor by the OA News Reader’s Choice