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June 12, 1943


Author Affiliations


From the Howe Laboratory of Ophthalmology Harvard Medical School.

JAMA. 1943;122(7):435-436. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.72840240001009

It is generally presumed that much of the incapacitation resulting from exposure to lewisite will be due to lesions of the eye, as has been the case with mustard gas. Because of the importance of this subject at the present time and the apparent absence of similar case reports previously, 2 instances are described in which ocular lesions occurred following exposure to lewisite under field conditions.

EXPOSURE AND INCIDENCE  The exposure occurred in the early afternoon in mid-January. The temperature was 25 F., and there was considerable wind. An ampule containing 100 cc. of 5 per cent lewisite in chloroform was exploded at a distance subsequently measured as 50 to 80 feet from a group of 33 observers in an open field. The observers were standing down wind to the explosion. Within a few minutes after the explosion, pieces of indicator paper which the observers were holding in their hands