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  4. ϲταφύλωμα

Gr. σταφύλωμα

Lat. staphyloma


bulging of the cornea or sclera due to inflammatory softening.

Abnormal protrusion (ectasia) of any part of the globe of the eye due to an inflammatory condition. The thin sclera is lined by uvea, hence the color of a staphyloma is generally black. According to position of the staphyloma, modern ophthalmology distinguishes intercalary, ciliary, equatorial and posterior staphylomas. The intercalary s. is situated at the limbus and lined by root of the iris; the ciliary s. is situated between the limbus and the equator; it is lined by ciliary body and is the commonest type; the equatorial s. develops under the recti muscle, hence is generally not visible; the posterior s. is a bulging of a weakened sclera at the posterior of the eyeball resulting from loss of the choroid lining.


1-2. Etymology–General Linguistic Section.

Metaphorical term based on a physical resemblance to ‘a grape’. Anatomical term named after staphylê, the ‘bunch of grapes’ and the unattested *staphyloô ‘to form grains’, as pointed out by ancient medical writers.

Ps.-Gal. Def. med. (XIX, p. 435, l. 15 Kühn): τμεʹ. Σταφύλωμά ἐστιν ἔπαρμα (a swelling, elevation) κατὰ τὸν τῆς κόρης τόπον ἐμφερὲς ῥαγὶ σταφυλῆς.

B. TESTIMONIA - A selection of representative sources

Celsus, 7.7.11 (CML 1.318.25-26 Marx): In ipso autem oculo nonnumquam summa attollitur tunica, siue ruptis intus membranis aliquibus siue laxatis, et similis figura acino fit: unde id staphyloma Graeci uocant. – Curatio duplex est: altera: ad ipsas radices per medium transuere acu duo lina ducente; deinde alterius lini duo capita ex superiore parte, alterius ex inferiore astringere inter se; quae paulatim secando id excidunt. Deinde spodium aut cadmiam infriare. (Of the staphyloma. These then are general disorders, that commonly occur in the parts about the eye, in the angles, and eye-lids. In the eye the external coat is sometimes raised, either from the rupture or relaxation of some of internal membranes; and it resembles a raising stone in its form, whence the Greeks call it a staphyloma. There are two methods of cure for it. One is to pass through the middle, at the root of it, a needle with a double thread; then to tye tight the ends of one of the threads above, and of the other below; which by cutting gradually, may bring it off. The other is, to cut out from its surface about the bigness of a lentil; then to rub in spodium or cadmia.)


Ps.-Gal. Def. med.  (XIX.433.15-16 and 439.13-14 Kühn: Ἑλκώσεων τῶν περὶ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς διαφοραί
εἰσιν ἄργεμον, νεφέλιον, ἐπίκαυμα, βόθριον, φλυκτὶς, λεύκωμα, ἄνθραξ, μυοκέφαλον, πύωσις, ὄνυξ, σταφύλωμα, ταῦτα
μετὰ πληγῆς.); Aët. VII 36 (CMG 8.2, 286.18-20 Olivieri: Περὶ σταφυλωμάτων. διαφοραὶ μὲν τῶν σταφυλωμάτων πλείους,
διότι καὶ αἰτίαι τοῦ πάθους ποικίλαι· ὡς ἐπίπαν δέ, ὅπως ἂν γένηται σταφυλώματα, πηροῖ τὴν ὄψιν. καλεῖται δὲ σταφυλώματα, ὅταν ὁ κερατοειδὴς χιτὼν κυρτωθῇ καὶ τὴν ὑπεροχὴν ῥαγὶ σταφυλῆς παραπλησίαν ποιήσηται. γίγνεται δέ ποτε μὲν ὑγρῶν ὑποχυθέντων ὑπό τινα τῶν κτηδόνων τοῦ κερατοειδοῦς χιτῶνος); Ps.-Alex. Ocul., p. 152 Puschmann: Περὶ σταφύλωματος. Τοῦ καλουμένου σταφύλωματος πολλαὶ εἰσι διαφοραί. ἐκλήθη δὲ σταφύλωμα διὰ τὸ ἐοικέναι ῥαγὶ σταφυλῆς.

Ps.-Gal. Introductio seu medicus (XIV p. 784, line 5 Kühn): τὰς δὲ ἐγκανθίδας καὶ πτερύγια καὶ τὰ σταφυλώματα περιαιροῦμεν, τὰ μὲν σταφυλώματα λίνον διείραντες καὶ ἀποβροχίζοντες, τὰ δὲ πτερύγια καὶ τὰς ἐγκανθίδας ἢ λίνῳ ἀνατείναντες, ἢ ἀγκίστρῳ.


ϲταφύλωμα is the term given to an eye whose sclero-uveal coats are stretched (also known as ectasia). This most commonly occurs posteriorly, although anterior staphyloma also is recognised. As opposed to coloboma, staphyloma defect is located off-center from the optic disc, typically temporal to the disc.


anterior staphyloma  staphyloma in the anterior part of the eye.

corneal staphyloma 

1. bulging of the cornea with adherent uveal tissue.
2. one formed by protrusion of the iris through a corneal wound.
posterior staphyloma  backward bulging of the sclera at the posterior pole of the eye.
scleral staphyloma  protrusion of the contents of the eyeball where the sclera has become thinned.

It is an acquired defect secondary to weakness and thinning of the scleraluveal coats.

Patients often present with severe axial myopia.

In the anterior segment of the eye, involving the cornea and the nearby sclera. It is an ectasia of pseudocornea ( the scar formed from organised exudates and fibrous tissue covered with epithelium) which results after sloughing of cornea with iris plastered behind, it is known as anterior staphyloma.

In the posterior segment of the eye, typically diagnosed at the region of the macula, deforming the eye in a way that the eye-length is extended associated with myopia (nearsightedness). It is diagnosed by ophthalmoscopy, which shows an area of retinal excavation in the region of the staphyloma.

As the name implies, it is the bulge of weak sclera lined by ciliary body, which occurs about 2–3 mm away from the limbus. Its common causes are thinning of sclera following perforating injury, scleritis and absolute glaucoma. It is part of anterior staphyloma.

E. Scheller, Aulus Cornelius Celsus, Brauschweig 1906 sec. ed., 382-383;

F. Skoda, Médecine ancienne et métaphore, Paris 1988, 16-18; 286 s.v. pterygion.

Curtin BJ, Karlin DB. Axial length measurements and fundus changes of the myopic eye. I. The posterior fundus. Trans Am Ophthalmol Soc. 1970;68: 312–334. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Gottlieb J. L., Prieto D. M., Vander J. F. et al Peripapillary staphyloma. Am J. Ophthalmolology 1997124249–251.251 [

E. CPGM reference(s)

CPGM references: the term is not attested before the 1st century AD, cf. P.Ross.Georg. 1.20.68-93, P.Strasb. gr. inv. 849.11-17 (= TMP, pp. 63-77: [T]εί ἐσ[τι τὸ σταφύ]λωμα;). 


Isabella Andorlini

Accepted term: 20-Ago-2014