Perfluorocarbon liquids are fully fluorinated, synthetic, transparent compounds with a high specific gravity. These compounds are being increasingly used as an intraoperative tool for repair of complicated retinal detachments. A potential complication of their use, however, is liquid entering the anterior chamber in aphakic patients. In the study described herein we evaluated the effects of two of these liquids when placed in the anterior chamber of the rabbit eye. Sixteen rabbit eyes underwent anterior chamber injection of 0.05 ml of either perfluoroctane, perfluoropolyether, or balanced salt solution (control eyes). Animals were monitored clinically by biomicroscopy and external photography for up to 14 days, after which they were sacrificed and the corneas processed for light and for scanning electron microscopy. The animals injected with perfluoropolyether showed more intense stromal inflammation and corneal vascularization (p < 0.02) than did those that received perfluoroctane. However, the perfluoroctane group showed more of the 'fish-egging' phenomenon (p < 0.03). Loss of endothelial cells was similar in the two groups, as determined by light and scanning electron microscopy. These results suggest that the corneal toxicity of these two perfluorocarbon liquids is such that their use as vitreous substitutes should be limited to short-term replacement.
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