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To the Editor.
—Wirtschafter and Sohmer have documented the electrical hazards of cryoextraction in the Archives (87:117, 1972). A potential mechanical hazard also exists with the same instrument.On July 25, 1972, cataract extraction with the patient under local anesthesia was attempted using the Amoils curved cataract probe. Following the usual testing of ice-ball formation by activating the instrument against a drop of saline, the probe was placed on the lens while warm. Immediately upon activation of the foot switch, a marked air explosion occurred at the probe tip. The explosion, caused by fracture of the probe tip, propelled the 1-cm segment of broken probe tip, the lens, and a large amount of compressed carbon dioxide gas into the vitreous cavity, with displacement of the vitreous body out over the scleral wound lip. After the cornea was again elevated, the CO2 gas escaped from the eye, most of
Townes DE. Mechanical Cryoprobe Hazard. Arch Ophthalmol. 1973;89(5):438. doi:10.1001/archopht.1973.01000040440017