Axenfeld-Rieger Syndrome


Axenfeld-Rieger syndrome is a group of disorders that mainly affects the development of the eye. Common eye symptoms include cornea defects and iris defects. People with this syndrome may have an off-center pupil (corectopia) or extra holes in the eyes that can look like multiple pupils (polycoria). About 50% of people with this syndrome develop glaucoma, a condition that increases pressure inside of the eye, and may cause vision loss or blindness. Click here to view a diagram of the eye. 

Even though Axenfeld-Rieger syndrome is primarily an eye disorder, this syndrome can affect other parts of the body. Most people with this syndrome have distinctive facial features and many have issues with their teeth, including unusually small teeth (microdontia) or fewer than normal teeth (oligodontia). Some people have extra folds of skin around their belly button, heart defects, or other more rare birth defects.

There are three types of Axenfeld-Rieger syndrome and each has a different genetic cause. Axenfeld-Rieger syndrome type 1 is caused by mutations in the PITX2 gene. Axenfeld-Rieger syndrome type 3 is caused by mutations in the FOXC1 gene. The gene that causes Axenfeld-Rieger syndrome type 2 is not known, but it is located on chromosome 13. Axenfeld-Rieger syndrome has an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance. Treatment depend on the symptoms.