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Krukenberg's Spindle


Why is it called Krukenberg's Spindle, and what is it?

Krukenberg's Spindle is named after Friedrich Ernst Krukenberg (1871-1946), a German gynaecologist and pathologist, specialising in Ophthalmology. He was a fellow of the German ophthalmologist Karl Theodor Paul Polykarpus Axenfeld (1867-1930). Krukenberg's Spindle is also referred to as Axenfeld-Krukenberg Spindle.

KS is a spindle-shaped, vertical deposit of chocolate-brown coloured pigment in the cornea of the eye, created by flakes of pigment rubbed off the back of the iris. The reasons for this aren't exactly known... some researchers believe it to be congenital, others believe that it is the shape of the iris itself which causes this to happen. There is research in progress to try to find the gene(s) responsible for this condition.

Krukenberg Spindle image

Photo courtesy of:

Krukenberg's Spindle is an early indicator of Pigment Dispersion Syndrome, which can lead to Pigmentary Glaucoma. Usually, it is detected during a routine eye examination; there are usually no symptoms that KS or PDS are present until an examination is undertaken.

Links to some sites relating to Krukenberg's Spindle and Pigment Dispersion Syndrome are available on the Links page of this site.

Friedrich Ernst Krukenberg

Friedrich Ernst Krukenberg (1871-1946)

Picture courtesy of


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