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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Pigment-dispersion syndrome

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Pigment-dispersion syndrome is an eye disorder that occurs when pigment granules that normally adhere to the back of the iris (the colored part of the eye) flake off into the clear fluid produced by the eye (aqueous humor). These pigment granules may flow towards the drainage canals of the eye, slowly clogging them and raising the pressure within the eye (intraocular pressure or IOP). This rise in eye pressure can cause damage to the optic nerve (the nerve in the back of the eye that carries visual images to the brain). If the optic nerve becomes damaged, pigment-dispersion syndrome becomes pigmentary glaucoma. This happens in about 30% of cases.[1] Pigment-dispersion syndrome commonly presents between the second and fourth decades, which is earlier than other types of glaucoma.[2][3] While men and women are affected in equal numbers, men develop pigmentary glaucoma up to 3 times more often than women.[1] Myopia (nearsightedness) appears to be an important risk factor in the development of pigment-dispersion syndrome and is present in up to 80% of affected individuals.[2] The condition may be sporadic or follow an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance with reduced penetrance . At least one gene locus on chromosome 7 has been identified.[2][3] Pigment-dispersion syndrome can be treated with eye drops or other medications.[1][3] In some cases, laser surgery may be performed.[1] 
Last updated: 5/16/2015


  1. Pigment Dispersion Syndrome and Pigmentary Glaucoma. Glaucoma Research Foundation. March 25, 2013; Accessed 5/16/2015.
  2. Barkana Y. Pigmentary Glaucoma. Medscape Reference. October 13, 2014; Accessed 5/16/2015.
  3. Aref AA, Callahan CE, Scott IU. Dx and Tx of Pigment Dispersion Syndrome and Pigmentary Glaucoma. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Accessed 5/16/2015.
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Basic Information

  • The American Academy of Ophthalmology Web site has an information page on Pigment-dispersion syndrome. Their Web site is dedicated to educating people about eye diseases and conditions and the preservation of eye health.
  • The Glaucoma Research Foundation Web site has information on Pigment-dispersion syndrome. This group is dedicated to finding a cure for glaucoma.

In Depth Information

  • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
  • Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs.  Access to this database is free of charge.
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.