Labelled Diagram of the Eye

Labelled diagram of the structure of the retina

Descemetocele is an ophthalmic condition characterized by thinning of the stroma of the cornea (of the eye) to such extent that Descemet's membrane is the only layer maintaining the integrity of the eyeball.

Short descriptions and definitions of this condition vary. For example, descemetocele is also described by some sources as simply a "bulging forward" of the Descemet's membrane, by other sources as a "hernia of Descemet's membrane", and by other sources (similarly) as a "protrusion of Descemet's membrane through the cornea".

Considering the range of definitions of descemetocele in different textbooks and dictionaries, a general, yet simplified, version to encompass all the variations is:

Descemetocele is an ophthalmic condition involving disturbance of, or in the region of, the Descemet's membrane (of the cornea of the eye).

To fully appreciate even this simple definition of descemetocele, it is necessary to appreciate what is meant by the term "Descemet's membrane" and especially where it is located within the eye.


Descemet's membrane is the membrane that forms the deepest layer of the stroma of the cornea of the eye. It is located between the stroma and the endothelial layer of the cornea and ranges up to a thickness of 8-10 µm (in adults).

Descemetocele may be due to a severe ulceration of the cornea, i.e. a severe break through the layers that form the cornea. More information may therefore be found among descriptions of "corneal ulcers" and their effects.

See also corneal dystrophies for information about other conditions of the cornea.

More about Ophthalmology:

This section includes short definitions of many diseases, disorders, and conditions of the eyes and visual system.
For definitions of other terms in this category, choose from the list to the left (but note that this is not a complete/exhaustive list).

Other related pages include

For further information see also our pages of books about ophthalmology.

The following books may also be of interest:

The Aging Eye (Harvard Medical School)
MCQ Companion to the Eye (Textbook)
The Secret of Perfect Vision: How You Can Prevent and Reverse Nearsightedness
What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About(TM) Glaucoma: The Essential Treatments and Advances That Could Save Your Sight

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