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June 2017

Ocular Chemical Burns Secondary to Unintentional Instillation of Aqua Regia Hobbyist Reagent: Not All That Glitters Is Gold

Author Affiliations
  • 1Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
JAMA Ophthalmol. 2017;135(6):673-675. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2017.0924

We report 2 cases of unintentional ocular self-administration of aqua regia, a mixture of hydrochloric and nitric acids, used by hobbyists to determine gold purity. Aqua regia is commercially available and supplied in 15-mL eyedrop bottles that resemble those containing pharmacologic eyedrops (Figure 1). This poses a patient safety hazard that may produce severe and irreversible acid burn injuries to the eye.

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