I see a high proportion of patients with Pseudoexfoliation (PXF) syndrome in my glaucoma clinic. This is due to Waterford’s proud history as a Viking city as the condition has its highest prevalence in Viking populations. What is it and why is it so important?

What is pseudoexfoliation? It is a flaky material  which deposits in  many organs throughout the body. However it  only causes problems within the eye.

Where does it appear in the eye? The pseudoexfoliative material can lodge in the eyes drainage structures, on the lens and on the iris.

How does it affect the health of the eye?

From a medical perspective it causes two main issues:

  1. Pseudoexfoliation is associated with a 50% chance of developing glaucoma. In these patients the disease tends to be more aggressive and difficult to control than in people with  Primary open angle glaucoma. they tend to get higher pressure spikes and have earlier and more advanced optic nerve and visual field damage.
  2. Cataract Surgery can be more challenging as the flaky material can weaken the support structures holding the lens in place. However your eye surgeon will take extra precautions to minimise the chance of complications.

How can I prevent eye problems?

Unfortunately there is no way to prevent pseudoexfoliation syndrome. It does have a genetic basis but  we do not fully understand how it manifests. However early detection and appropriate management by a eye specialist allow patients to keep their vision intact.