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May 1990

A New Method of Obtaining Cells From the Cornea and Conjunctiva for Cytologic Study

Author Affiliations

Atlanta, Ga

Arch Ophthalmol. 1990;108(5):639. doi:10.1001/archopht.1990.01070070025011

To the Editor.  —Cytologic examination of conjunctival and corneal lesions has a prominent role in the diagnosis of ocular disorders.1 Malignant cells are particularly well suited for exfoliative cytologic examination because they have poor intercellular adherence and tend to desquamate when the malignant neoplasm is located on a mucosal surface.2 The traditional method of obtaining cells from the ocular surface for analysis is to scrape the suspicious area with a spatula, smear the recovered cells on a slide, fix them immediately, stain them, and finally examine them. The major disadvantage of this technique is that cells so obtained often dry before they can be fixed. The resultant drying artifacts interfere with the cytologic examination. We describe an alternative noninvasive method of obtaining cells for cytologic examination from corneal and conjunctival lesions. This method has been used routinely for 10 years by one of us (R.D.S.) and consistently produces

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