Perfluorodecalin Corneal Toxicity: Five Case Reports Academic Article uri icon

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  • Perfluorodecalin is a perfluorocarbon liquid used intraoperatively in retinal detachment repair. It is usually removed at the end of the procedure; however, residual amounts may be retained when poor corneal clarity or intraocular hemorrhage obscures the view. No clinical reports exist on the consequences of retained perfluorodecalin in the anterior segment. We report five cases in which perfluorodecalin was in prolonged contact with the cornea. The period of time for corneal pathology to occur and the role perfluorodecalin played in the etiology of such changes is discussed. A total of 348 patients with retinal detachments in one retinal practice underwent repair using pars plana vitrectomy combined with intraoperative perfluorodecalin between January 1992 and May 1994. Postoperatively, residual perfluorodecalin was observed in the anterior chamber in contact with the corneal endothelium in five patients. The patients were followed clinically for a period of up to 18 months. Four of five patients developed corneal changes from prolonged contact with perfluorodecalin. Corneal edema developed in the area perfluorodecalin-endothelial contact in three of five eyes. The period of perfluorodecalin-endothelial contact before corneal decompensation occurred ranged from 4 to 13 weeks. Two eyes required penetrating keratoplasties for progressive corneal edema. Corneal edema was reversed in one eye after removal of perfluorodecalin from the anterior chamber via multiple paracentesis. One of the remaining eyes developed deep corneal vascularization without edema in the area of perfluorodecalin contact after 12 months. These observations suggest that corneal toxicity may be induced by intraocular perfluorodecalin if it is allowed direct contact with the corneal endothelium for periods as short as 1 month. Some of these changes may be reversible if perfluorodecalin is aspirated from the anterior chamber. Further investigations are required to examine perfluorodecalin-induced corneal toxicity.


  • Wilbanks, Garth A
  • Apel, Andrew JG
  • Jolly, Shivinder
  • Devenyi, Robert G
  • Rootman, David S

publication date

  • May 1996

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