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December 1955

Action of Alkalies on the Corneal Stroma roma

Author Affiliations

Howe Laboratory of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School, and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

AMA Arch Ophthalmol. 1955;54(6):931-939. doi:10.1001/archopht.1955.00930020937019

Among the commonest and most devastating chemical injuries of the eye are those caused by strong alkalies, such as calcium hydroxide, sodium hydroxide, and potassium hydroxide. Contact with these substances may render the corneal stroma opaque, and vision may be lost. In combating the effects of these alkalies, copious emergency irrigation with water is important for decontamination, but thereafter the treatment available is nonspecific, save in the instance of the most superficial opacification from lime, which may be eliminated by means of sodium ethylenediaminetetraacetate or other solubilizing agent for calcific deposits.1 General anti-inflammatory measures, including the application of cortisone and hydrocortisone, appear to be beneficial; but, unfortunately, the mode of action of alkalies on the corneal stroma is at present too poorly understood to provide a logical basis for devising specific chemical antidotes. Owing to the complexity of the chemistry involved, there is unlikely to be any speedy solution

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