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Ophthalmology. 1991 Jul;98(7):1011-6.

Perforating ocular injuries caused by anesthesia personnel.

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University of South Florida College of Medicine, Department of Ophthalmology, Tampa.


Between February 1988 and May 1990, the authors treated 12 perforating ocular injuries caused by anesthetic injections around the eye. All 12 injections were performed by nonophthalmologists. Eleven were performed by anesthesiologists and one by a certified nurse anesthetist. Five were caused by blunt needles and seven by sharp needles. Two of the eyes had multiple posterior exit wounds. The five eyes that had sharp needle, single perforations (i.e., one entrance wound and one exit wound) were easily managed with cryopexy, laser, or observation. All five of these eyes have a visual acuity of 20/40 or better. Six vitrectomies were performed on the five patients with single perforations caused by blunt needles; three of these eyes have a visual acuity of counting fingers or worse. The two patients who had multiple posterior exit wounds required a total of four procedures. The visual acuity in these eyes is 20/400 and light perception. Anesthesia personnel should be well trained before attempting ocular anesthesia. The use of blunt needles does not prevent ocular penetration.

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