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The “Silent Brain Syndrome” Creating a Severe Form of the “Giant Fornix Syndrome”

Chen, John J. MD, PhD; Cohen, Alex W. MD, PhD; Wagoner, Michael D. MD, PhD; Allen, Richard C. MD, PhD

doi: 10.1097/ICO.0b013e31823f8e65
Case Report

Purpose To describe the clinical course of a patient requiring ophthalmic care for entropion and fungal keratitis in the setting of undiagnosed enophthalmos after previous ventriculoperitoneal shunting consistent with silent brain syndrome.

Methods Case report.

Results A 33-year-old man who had a history of ventriculoperitoneal shunting for an encephalocele during infancy presented because of ocular irritation and entropion, which was presumed to be entirely due to a chemical injury he had sustained 2 years before. He underwent 2 upper eyelid entropion repairs and developed fungal aspergilloma keratitis in the postoperative period. He underwent 2 penetrating keratoplasties and a limbal stem cell transplant but had complications with reinfection of the graft, eventually leading to a prephthisical painful eye. During enucleation, an aspergilloma was found within an enlarged superior fornix. Computed tomographic scan revealed severe enophthalmos with air between the lids and the globe, which was consistent with silent brain syndrome.

Conclusions In patients with silent brain syndrome, the lack of apposition between the eyelids and the globe results in entropion, trichiasis, lagophthalmos, and ocular irritation. This can complicate entropion repair and the severity of infectious keratitis. We also propose that the enlarged fornices seen in silent brain syndrome can also serve as a reservoir for infection, similar to the pathogenesis seen in the giant fornix syndrome.

*Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, IA.

Reprints: Richard C. Allen, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, 200 Hawkins Drive, Iowa City, IA 52242 (e-mail:

Supported in part by an unrestricted grant from Research to Prevent Blindness, New York, NY.

The authors state that they have no financial or conflicts of interests to disclose.

Received April 22, 2011

Accepted August 24, 2011

Copyright © 2012 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.