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May 25, 1918


JAMA. 1918;70(21):1538. doi:10.1001/jama.1918.02600210028012

It has long been established that the sound skin is practically impermeable for watery solutions of salts and other substances. For this reason, perhaps, it has become customary to think of other surfaces closely connected with the integument as being similarly impervious to soluble products that come into contact with them. Yet everyday experience in ophthalmologic practice bears witness to the permeability of the epithelial membranes of the eyes to the drugs used in dilating the pupil for purposes of examination of these organs. Furthermore, the history of toxicology shows clearly that another structure — the vagina — which resembles the skin in many respects, except for the absence of the horny surface as its outer layer of stratified epithelium, can also be the seat of active absorption. Nevertheless, as Macht1 has pointed out in an elaborate study of the vagina as a seat of absorption, the vagina is generally