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March 1983

Ocular Effects Following the Volcanic Eruptions of Mount St Helens

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Ophthalmology (Drs Fraunfelder and Johnson), National Registry of Drug-Induced, Chemical, and Environmental Ocular Side Effects (Drs Fraunfelder and Johnson), and Biological Effects of Volcanic Ash Center (Dr Buist), Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland; Department of Ophthalmology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle (Dr Kalina); and Chronic Diseases Division, Center for Environmental Health, Atlanta (Dr Bernstein).

Arch Ophthalmol. 1983;101(3):376-378. doi:10.1001/archopht.1983.01040010376003

• Three hundred thirty-two ophthalmologists examined 1,523 patients with immediate ocular complaints following the 1980 eruptions of Mount St Helens. Loggers working up to 18 months in environments with high concentrations of volcanic ash were compared with a control group of loggers without volcanic ash contact. Although the ash particles acted as ocular foreign bodies, the small particles were apparently well tolerated for the most part, except for acute irritation. Patients with contact lenses or sicca syndrome had the most frequent ocular complaints. To date, no long-term ocular effects have been noted secondary to volcanic ash exposure.

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