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January 1959

Superficial Keratitis Due to Plastic Foreign Bodies

Author Affiliations

Bethlehem, Pa.

AMA Arch Ophthalmol. 1959;61(1):141-143. doi:10.1001/archopht.1959.00940090143021

There has been a recent fad in women's dress which has produced a resurgent demand for stiff billowing skirts and petticoats. Relatively heavy and coarse-meshed plastic material, called bouffant, has been employed by garment manufacturers to attain the desired shapes. The plastic material has a tendency to flake when cut or bent. The flakes fly into the atmosphere and not infrequently alight upon the cornea, where they may induce a low-grade keratitis. Experience with over 75 of these cases is described below.

Etiology  Bouffant (modified nylon) is a stiff plastic material which flakes into octagonal or hexagonal thin crystals about 0.5 to 1 mm. in diameter when it is sheared. The organic constituents seem to be inert as far as chemical irritation to the eye is concerned. No changes of a chemical type have been observed, such as have been described in instances of artificial silk keratitis.1 All of