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March 1985

Corneal Endothelium Following Immersion of Eyes in Water

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Ophthalmology (Drs Hull and Green and Ms Hampstead) and Physiology (Dr Green), Medical College of Georgia, Augusta.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1985;103(3):437-439. doi:10.1001/archopht.1985.01050030133039

• Eye banks are occasionally asked to retrieve corneal tissue from drowning victims. The ambient water surrounding the eyes before recovery of the victim has chemical, pH, and osmotic characteristics different from those of aqueous humor, thereby possibly making corneas recovered from these eyes unsuitable for transplantation. Corneal endothelial cell function and ultrastructure were maintained following soaking of rabbit eyes for three hours in either seawater, fresh lake water, or chlorinated swimming-pool water at 25 °C. The data suggest that physiological and ultrastructural integrity of the corneal endothelium is maintained under these conditions, and that if other, generally accepted criteria of donor suitability are met, such corneas are probably suitable for transplantation.