Degenerative changes caused by glaucoma

Topic Completed: 1 February 2014

Minor changes: 1 April 2019

Copyright: 2004-2019, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.

PubMed Search: Degenerative changes caused by glaucoma

Nat Pernick, M.D.
Page views in 2019: 458
Page views in 2020 to date: 149
Cite this page: Pernick N. Glaucoma: degenerative changes caused by glaucoma. PathologyOutlines.com website. http://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/eyeglaucomadegen.html. Accessed May 29th, 2020.
Definition / general
  • Enlargement of globe (buphthalmos) or cornea (megalocornea) if childhood onset
  • Atrophy of retinal ganglion cell layer and reduction of nerve fiber and inner nuclear layers with preservation of rods and cones and outer nuclear layer
  • Also degeneration of nerve fibers near optic disc causing cupping (deep excavation) of optic disc, posterior bowing of lamina cribrosa, severe atrophy of optic nerve
  • May have accumulation of hyaluronic acid in optic nerve (Hales colloidal iron+, Alcian blue+)
  • Also scleral ectasia in equatorial regions with blue color
Gross description
  • White and atrophic optic nerve with deep cupping and extreme nasal displacement of vessels
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Compression of tissues of lamina cribrosa and extensive cupping with posterior bowing
  • Also gliosis of optic nerve, retinal atrophy or loss of ganglion cell layer
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