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May 1989

Sterno-Induced Methanol Toxicity and Visual Recovery After Prompt Hemodialysis

Arch Ophthalmol. 1989;107(5):643. doi:10.1001/archopht.1989.01070010661015

To the Editor.  —Decreased vision developed in a man after he consumed alcohol eluted from Sterno, a cleaning solvent and compound for keeping foods hot. Sterno contains 71% ethyl alcohol and 3.6% methyl alcohol. This case report illustrates (1) the importance of early recognition of methanol intoxication using indexes of elevated anion and osmolality gaps before serum methanol levels are available and (2) the efficacy of a prompt correction of acidosis and the removal of methanol by hemodialysis for improvement of vision.

Report of a Case.  —A 29-year-old white male prisoner was brought to the emergency department at 5 pm with a complaint of blurred vision and photophobia occurring since morning. He denied having a history of a similar complaint or any ocular abnormality, or ingesting illegal or nonprescription drugs. However, he did relate having consumed alcohol obtained from Sterno from the jail kitchen by wringing Sterno wrapped in a

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