Stripping of Descemet's membrane: A clinicopathologic correlation

D. Pieramici, W. R. Green, W. J. Stark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


We describe a case of accidental injection of sodium hyaluronate (Healon) anterior to Descemet's membrane that caused the membrane to become almost completely detached. The patient eventually underwent penetrating keratoplasty, permitting histopathologic study of the detachment. Sodium hyaluronate globules in the space between the posterior stroma and Descemet's membrane were demonstrated by light and electron microscopy. In addition, 111 consecutive cases of Descemet's membrane detachment identified pathologically were reviewed to identify potential predisposing risk factors and determine corneal pathologic changes. A history of previous intraocular surgery was present in 89 (80%) of the cases; cataract surgery, the most common, had occurred in 52 (58%). Frequent associated corneal pathologic findings were bullous keratopathy in 48 (43%) of the specimens, and scarring and vascularization in 33 (29.7%). In one case that was identified and studied histopathologically, a 90% detachment of Descemet's membrane was noted clinically following the reformation of the anterior chamber with sodium hyaluronate. We conclude that in the cases of Descemet's membrane detachment that came to pathologic examination, intraocular surgery was a major predisposing risk factor. Corneal pathologic changes, which were common, possibly masked the clinical diagnosis of Descemet's membrane detachment in some cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)226-231
Number of pages6
JournalOphthalmic Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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