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Open Access Case report

Fibrin membrane pupillary-block glaucoma after uneventful cataract surgery treated with intracameral tissue plasminogen activator: a case report

Hideaki Yoshino, Masaaki Seki*, Jun Ueda, Takaiko Yoshino, Takeo Fukuchi and Haruki Abe

Author Affiliations

Division of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, Niigata University, 1-757 Asahi-machi, Niigata-shi 951-8120, Japan

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BMC Ophthalmology 2012, 12:3  doi:10.1186/1471-2415-12-3

Published: 20 March 2012



Fibrin pupillary-block glaucoma is a rare complication after cataract surgery. The treatment for this condition is still controversial, since Nd:YAG laser fibrin membranotomy tends to reocclude and laser peripheral iridotomy entails the risk of damaging the corneal endothelium in the presence of corneal edema associated with elevated intraocular pressure.

Case presentation

A 62-year-old man with diabetes mellitus developed acute elevation of intraocular pressure with a shallow anterior chamber five days after uneventful cataract surgery. Initially, slit lamp examination provided only limited information due to severe corneal edema. After resolution of corneal edema with systemic glaucoma therapy, a complete fibrin membrane was observed across the pupil by slit lamp examination. Anterior segment optic coherence tomography clearly revealed a thin fibrin membrane covering the entire pupillary space, a shallow anterior chamber, and a deep posterior chamber. The intraocular lens was not observed by anterior segment optic coherence tomography. In contrast, ultrasound biomicroscopy, which has superior penetration depth, was able to visualize the intraocular lens deep in the posterior chamber. Injection of tissue plasminogen activator into the anterior chamber resulted in complete fibrinolysis and released the pupillary block.


This case suggests that ocular anterior segment imaging modalities, especially ultrasound biomicroscopy, serve as powerful diagnostic tools to identify mechanisms of acute angle closure glaucoma, which is often accompanied by poor intraocular visibility. This is the first reported case of fibrin pupillary-block glaucoma after cataract surgery successfully treated with intracameral tissue plasminogen activator.

Pupillary block glaucoma; Fibrin membrane; Cataract surgery; Anterior segment imaging; Tissue plasminogen activator