University of Iowa Health Care

Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

EyeRounds Online Atlas of Ophthalmology

Iris pigment epithelial cysts

These cysts are fairly rare and classified as central (3%), midzonal (21%), peripheral (73%), and dislodged (3%). The majority of iris pigment epithelial cysts are benign and do not require any treatment.

Figure 1

Contributor: Matt Ward, MD

Aug 15, 2012

Iris pigment epithelial cysts

(higher resolution of this image not available)

The central cysts above were seen in a 62-year-old female with a history of angle closure glaucoma (perhaps due to enlargement of the cysts).


Lois N, Shields CL, Shields JA, Mercado G. Primary cysts of the iris pigment epithelium. Clinical features and natural course in 234 patients. Ophthalmology. 1998 Oct;105(10):1879-85.

Figure 2

Contributor: Thomas J.E. Clark, MD

Photographer: Brice Critser, CRA

December 22, 2015

On slit lamp examination (photos 2-A and 2-B), an elevation of the inferior iris is seen.  It appears as the iris is being pushed or bowed forward from a posterior mass.  Folds in the iris can be seen.

photo 1. Folds in the iris can be seen with narrow slit beam

Folds in the iris can bee seen here.

On gonioscopy examination (photo 2-C), the elevated, dome-shaped mass is apparent.  With careful inspection, the pigment epithelial cyst can be seen through the pupil on the posterior surface of the iris.  Also note the major arterial circle of the iris to the left of the cyst.

On gonioscopy examination, the elevated, dome-shaped mass is apparent.

Please see related case

No one may use these photographs for financial gain without written authorization from the contributor.

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last updated: 08/15/2012; updated 12/22/2015
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