Indian Journal of Ophthalmology - Case Reports

: 2021  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 234--236

Coincident iridocorneal endothelial syndrome and keratoconus

Ye Li1, Cameron McLintock2, Damian Lake2, James McKelvie3,  
1 Department of Ophthalmology, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, New Zealand
2 Corneoplastic Unit and Eye Bank, Queen Victoria Hospital, NHS Trust, East Grinstead, West Sussex, United Kingdom
3 Department of Ophthalmology, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, New Zealand; Corneoplastic Unit and Eye Bank, Queen Victoria Hospital, NHS Trust, East Grinstead, West Sussex, United Kingdom

Correspondence Address:
Dr. James McKelvie
Department of Ophthalmology, Private Bag 92019, University of Auckland, Auckland


This report describes a rare case coincident keratoconus and Iridocorneal Endothelial (ICE) syndrome in a 43-year-old male with atopy who presented with progressively declining vision. A beaten silver appearance of the right endothelium with a dark-light reversal pattern and endothelial pleomorphism was consistent with the Chandler's syndrome variant of ICE. Keratoconus was demonstrated by irregular astigmatism with thinning and steepening on corneal tomography. He remained stable throughout 14 years with no evidence of secondary glaucoma or progression in keratoconus with conservative management. Coincident ICE and keratoconus is a rare entity with only one other published case of the Chandler's syndrome variant.

How to cite this article:
Li Y, McLintock C, Lake D, McKelvie J. Coincident iridocorneal endothelial syndrome and keratoconus.Indian J Ophthalmol Case Rep 2021;1:234-236

How to cite this URL:
Li Y, McLintock C, Lake D, McKelvie J. Coincident iridocorneal endothelial syndrome and keratoconus. Indian J Ophthalmol Case Rep [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Oct 19 ];1:234-236
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Full Text

Iridocorneal endothelial (ICE) syndrome is a rare disorder characterized by abnormal endothelial cell proliferation that may be associated with corneal edema, angle-closure glaucoma, and characteristic iris changes. There is no conclusive prevalence; however, it is likely to be significantly less than the reported incidence of corneal endothelial dystrophies of 54 per 100,000.[1] Its precise etiology remains unknown; however, it has been suggested that viral infections, such as Herpes simplex and Epstein-Barr virus, may be an underlying or predisposing factor.[2] The three variations of ICE, Cogan-Reese syndrome, essential iris atrophy, and Chandler's syndrome, are differentiated by the degree of corneal and iris involvement.

Keratoconus is a form of corneal ectasia characterized by progressive myopic irregular astigmatism, with an incidence of 54 per 100,000.[3] It is often associated with atopy, eye rubbing, genetic syndromes, connective tissue disorders, and rarely other types of corneal dystrophy.[3]

 Case Report

A 43-year-old male presented with progressively declining visual acuity. He had a history of allergic conjunctivitis and hay fever and a family history of primary open-angle glaucoma.

On examination, unaided visual acuity was 6/12 and 6/24 correcting to 6/9.6 and 6/6 with spectacles, and autorefraction was -0.75/-1.00 × 60 and -1.25/-1.75 × 180 in the right and left eye, respectively. Blepharitis was present with papillae bilaterally. A “beaten silver” endothelial reflex was noted in the right eye only. Intraocular pressure (IOP) was 15 and 16 mmHg in the right and left eye, respectively. Gonioscopy and dilated examination demonstrated open angles, no peripheral anterior synechiae, a deep anterior chamber, and healthy optic nerves with a cup to disc ratio of 0.2 bilaterally. Apart from mild corneal haze in the right eye, there was no sign of endothelial decompensation, IOP elevation, or disc changes to suggest secondary glaucoma.

Endothelial cell count and morphology were normal in the left eye; however, specular microscopy demonstrated a light-dark reversal pattern [Figure 1]a, characteristic of Chandler's syndrome in the right eye. Endothelial pleomorphism was present with a coefficient of variation (CV) of 0.62 and 0.39, with an endothelial cell density (CD) of 2170 and 2368 in the right and left eye, respectively.{Figure 1}

Corneal tomography revealed bilateral corneal thinning with irregular astigmatism [Figure 1]b and [Figure 1]c, with minimum corneal thickness of 544 and 496 μm in the right and left eye, respectively. Optical coherence tomography demonstrated hyperreflectivity of the endothelium in the right eye only [Figure 2]. Management consisted of 0.3% hypromellose lubricating eye drops (Artelac; Bausch & Lomb Ltd, Surrey, UK), 2% sodium cromoglycate eye drops (Opticrom; Aventis Pharma Ltd, Surrey, UK), and oral antihistamines.{Figure 2}

Over 14 years of follow-up, conservative management with annual review yielded stable visual acuity of 6/12 and refraction of +0.75/-1.25 × 75 in the right eye, with an IOP in the normal range and unchanged optic discs (cup to disc ratio 0.4). Corneal pachymetry and specular microscopy remained stable with a CD of 2157 and CV of 0.58 [Figure 1]a, [Figure 1]b, [Figure 1]c, [Figure 1]d, [Figure 1]e.


This case describes a patient who has a rare combination of concomitant keratoconus and ICE. There are only five reports of coincident ICE syndrome and keratoconus,[4],[5],[6],[7],[8] with only one involving the Chandler's syndrome variant.[4] The other cases involved keratoconus with coincident Cogan-Reese syndrome[6] and three cases of keratoconus with iris atrophy,[5],[7],[8] all of which developed secondary angle-closure glaucoma. Angle-closure glaucoma occurs in 46–82% of ICE patients and is more commonly associated with Cogan-Reese syndrome and essential iris atrophy compared to Chandler's syndrome, which frequently presents with corneal edema and a lesser degree of iris pathology.[2]

Posterior polymorphous corneal dystrophy (PPCD) can present with corneal changes similar to those seen in ICE; however, it typically presents with bilateral signs, whereas ICE is characteristically sporadic and unilateral as highlighted in this case. Fuchs endothelial dystrophy (FED) may also present with progressive decline in visual acuity with endothelial changes. In this case, sequential specular microscopy demonstrated unilateral light-dark reversal pattern that is diagnostic for ICE rather than bilateral guttae as seen in FED, and no clear demarcation between normal and abnormal cells as seen in PPCD.

Corneal anterior chamber depth and narrow angles are risk factors for angle-closure glaucoma. We postulate that keratoconus may have been a protective factor against this due to deep anterior chambers with open angles, as this patient did not develop secondary glaucoma that is commonly associated with peripheral anterior synechiae and a membrane over the angle structures.[9]

The presence of endothelial pathology may pose diagnostic and therapeutic challenges for keratoconus. Corneal thickening secondary to endothelial compromise seen in advanced ICE may in part mask the corneal ectasia characteristic of keratoconus. The nature of the corneal thickness changes can help to differentiate each disorder, as keratoconus tends to have characteristic focal ectasia that manifests central thinning surrounded by an annulus of thickened epithelium and ICE typically presents with a generalized increase in thickness.[10]

Corneal collagen crosslinking, the gold standard treatment for progressive keratoconus, may be relatively contraindicated in the context of ICE, particularly if the corneal thickness is less than 400 μm due to an increased risk of endothelial damage with corneal crosslinking. This patient did not demonstrate progressive tomographic or refractive changes and therefore did not require corneal crosslinking. If secondary endothelial damage develops, an endothelial transplant may be required, similar to advanced cases of ICE that develop secondary corneal decompensation due to endothelial dysfunction. In ICE patients with advanced keratoconus, it may be necessary to perform penetrating keratoplasty to address both pathologies.


We describe a very rare coincidence of iridocorneal endothelial syndrome and keratoconus.

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form the patient(s) has/have given his/her/their consent for his/her/their images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patients understand that their names and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal their identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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