Phthisis bulbi

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Last staff update: 28 December 2020

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PubMed Search: Phthisis bulbi [title] globe

Nat Pernick, M.D.
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Cite this page: Pernick N. Phthisis bulbi. PathologyOutlines.com website. https://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/eyeglobephthisisbulbi.html. Accessed September 22nd, 2023.
Definition / general
  • Degenerative change of globe involving all tissues
  • Usually takes several years to develop
  • Often due to accidental or post-surgical trauma
  • Also found in eyes removed for blindness, pain, glaucoma, inflammation
  • Due to reduced production of aqueous humor causing reduced intraocular pressure (hypotony) and shrinkage of globe
  • Also due to organization of inflammatory exudate
  • Degenerative changes and degree of shrinkage are variable in different tissues
  • May be calcification and ossification with bone marrow
  • Note: must decalcify globe
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Typically disorganization of intraocular contents, opaque media, corneal scars, exudate in anterior and posterior chambers, advanced cataracts, destruction of vitreous, scleral thickening, cyclitic membrane extends from one ciliary body behind the lens to the other ciliary body, complete detachment of retina; also ossification or bone formation
  • Usually histology does not disclose initial condition leading to phthisis bulbi
  • Occasionally occult melanoma or lymphoma is found
Microscopic (histologic) images

AFIP images

Regressed retinoblastoma
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Disorganized intraocular contents with ossification and calcification

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Fossilized tumor cells

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Massive retinal gliosis

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