Glaucoma with Descemet's membrane detachment in five horses

Michala de Linde Henriksen, Noelle La Croix, David A. Wilkie, Mary Utter, Karen R. Brantman, Gillian L. Beamer, Leandro B.C. Teixeira, Richard R. Dubielzig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose: To describe the clinical and histopathologic features of glaucoma associated with Descemet's membrane (DM) detachment in five horses without prior history of intraocular surgery. Animals studied: Three Appaloosa horses and two Thoroughbreds were included in this study. The affected horses ranged in age from 16 to 27 years and presented with severe diffuse corneal edema. Procedure: Five eyes were enucleated due to intraocular hypertension and/or chronic corneal ulceration. The enucleated globes were evaluated by the Comparative Ocular Pathology Laboratory of Wisconsin (COPLOW). Each globe was routinely processed for histopathology and analyzed by light microscopy. A histologic diagnosis of glaucoma was reached by demonstrating a loss of optic nerve axonal tissue by measuring neurofilament-immunopositive axons with automated image analysis software. Results: All five horses presented with unilateral severe diffuse corneal edema that had developed between 2 and 16 weeks prior to enucleation. Intraocular pressures for the affected eyes were between 9 and 87 mmHg prior to enucleation. Descemet's membrane detachment was identified histopathologically in all five globes (5/5, 100%). All five eyes had an avascular spindle cell proliferation filling the space between the displaced peripheral DM and the corneal stroma. Neurofilament immunostaining revealed axonal loss consistent with glaucoma. Conclusion: Equine glaucoma may be associated with Descemet's membrane detachment. This detachment and glaucoma is a possible differential diagnosis for severe equine corneal edema. In this case series, an eye with a DM detachment had a poor prognosis for retention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-279
Number of pages7
JournalVeterinary Ophthalmology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2017


  • corneal edema
  • Descemet's membrane detachment
  • equine
  • glaucoma
  • ocular hypertension
  • ophthalmology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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