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November 1980

Loxoscelism of the Eyelids

Author Affiliations

From the Oculoplastic Service, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1980;98(11):1997-2000. doi:10.1001/archopht.1980.01020040849012

• Loxoscelism is a reaction to the bite of spiders of the genus Loxosceles. Several species have been found in the United States; the most commonly encountered is L reclusus, the small brown recluse spider. Two types of reactions occur from the bite. In the localized type, necrotic loxoscelism, a cutaneous lesion with extensive gangrene develops. About 25% of patients have systemic manifestations of viscerocutaneous loxoscelism. There is the same local reaction, but, in addition, fever, chills, vomiting, joint pain, and hematologic abnormalities occur. Hemoglobinemia and hemoglobinuria suggest severe involvement. Deaths are believed to be caused by massive intravascular hemolysis. We describe a 61-year-old man who was bitten on the periorbital region; viscerocutaneous loxoscelism with gangrenous involvement of the eyelids developed. Severe laryngeal edema from regional, massive swelling of his neck was life threatening.

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