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May 1955

Gas Gangrene Panophthalmitis: Review of the Literature; Report of New Cases

Author Affiliations

North Hollywood, Calif.
From the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston.

AMA Arch Ophthalmol. 1955;53(5):634-642. doi:10.1001/archopht.1955.00930010642002

Panophthalmitis due to organisms of the gas gangrene group is fortunately a rare affliction. Twenty-four authors have described a total of 53 cases since 1904. Seven of these occurred in the United States, the first being recorded in 1932. This report adds three more cases.

Certain characteristics common to every reported instance of gas gangrene panophthalmitis were noted:

  1. Infection followed a perforating wound of the globe.

  2. Despite any and all therapeutic measures undertaken, the infection progressed, destroying all visual function.

  3. The infected globe was either eviscerated or enucleated, or the entire orbit exenterated.

  4. Postoperative recovery was essentially uneventful and complete.


Clinical Course  The majority of these cases gave the history of a perforating injury which occurred while hammering or chipping metal or stone. In a large percentage the patient did not realize the eye had been penetrated by a foreign body, considering the incident trivial. The

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