Pigment dispersion syndrome (PDS) is a relatively common genetic eye disorder. PDS causes granules from the colored part of the eye (pigment) to break away and float around in the clear fluid of the eye (aqueous humor). These pigment granules can build up and clog the eye’s drainage system, which can cause pressure and optic nerve damage (glaucoma). This event occurs in about 10% of the cases. Severe optic nerve damage may cause vision loss. Symptoms of PDS usually do not occur until late adulthood, but signs of the symptoms may be present when a person is in their teens.
The exact cause of PDS is unknown. Researchers believe it is inherited in an autosomal dominant way, which means a mutation in one of the two copies of the associated gene is enough to cause the condition. PDS is common and affects up to 2.5% of all Caucasians. Signs of the condition can be found by an eye doctor (ophthalmologist) during a routine eye exam, even before symptoms start. Identifying the condition early is important because treatment options, including a laser procedure and medications, can help reduce the risk of glaucoma and vision loss. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with PDS, talk with a doctor about all current treatment options. Support groups can provide additional information.