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J Clin Pathol. 2006 Feb;59(2):153-5.

Twenty year review of histopathological findings in enucleated/eviscerated eyes.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Leeds General Infirmary, Clarendon Wing Leeds LS2 9NS, UK.



To evaluate the need for routine histopathological analysis of enucleated/eviscerated eyes and changes in indications for eye removal.


Retrospective review of all enucleation/evisceration histopathology reports over 20 years. Clinical history was correlated with pathological findings. Two 10 year periods (1984-93, 1994-2003) were compared to detect changes in indications for eye removal.


In total, 285 histopathology results were traced from 1984 to 2003; 161 and 124 were evisceration and enucleation specimens, respectively. Glaucoma, malignant melanoma, trauma, and retinal detachment were the most frequent diagnoses 1984-1993. Ocular trauma was the most frequent diagnosis 1994-2003, followed by phthisis bulbi and endophthalmitis. Three cases were diagnosed as metastatic carcinoma; all were suspected preoperatively. A fourth case was a diagnostic surprise: adenocarcinoma found in an eye removed for pain and phthisis. Comparison of two 10 year periods showed a decrease in the number of enucleations/eviscerations, perhaps reflecting a decrease in the number of specimens sent. A preference for eviscerations was evident over the 20 years.


The number of eyes removed and histologically analysed decreased in the period 1994 to 2003, perhaps because of better treatment options, allowing globe preservation. There was a significant shift in the diagnosis in the two time periods, and a preference for evisceration in both. Only one diagnostic surprise was discovered (0.35%). This study does not support the need to send all globes/contents for histopathological examination. However, because of the one unexpected finding, it is recommended where the examination is incomplete or the history of visual loss is unclear.

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