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August 1990

Toxic Endothelial Cell Destruction of the Cornea After Routine Extracapsular Cataract Surgery

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Ophthalmology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam (Drs Breebaart, Nuyts, and Verbraak); the Department of Morphology, the Netherlands Ophthalmic Research Institute, Amsterdam (Dr Pels); and the Department of Ophthalmology, Emory University, Atlanta, Ga (Dr Edelhauser).

Arch Ophthalmol. 1990;108(8):1121-1125. doi:10.1001/archopht.1990.01070100077038

• Eighteen patients developed an acute corneal decompensation following normal intraocular surgery (cataract extraction in 17 patients), characterized by star-shaped endothelial folds, a twofold increase in corneal thickness, and a visual acuity of counting fingers during several postoperative days. In some cases, there was an additional iritis and transient hypotony. There was no effect of topical and/or subconjunctival corticosteroids on the course of the decompensation. Endothelial morphometric analysis showed a mean endothelial cell loss of 72%. Endothelial wound healing, as determined by coefficient of variation and percentage hexagonals, stabilized 6 months postoperatively. We coined the term toxic endothelial cell destruction for this syndrome. Epidemiological evaluation revealed the toxic endothelial cell destruction syndrome to be linked with the 10-fold increase of a detergent solution in the ultrasonic bath for cleaning the surgical instruments.

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