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Ocular Hydrofluoric Acid Burns: Animal Model, Mechanism of Injury and Therapy

Author: McCulley JP, Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas

Journal: Trans Am Ophthalmol Soc 1990;88:649-84

Abstract: A series of ocular HF burns were produced in rabbits in order to clarify the nature of the injury and to provide a description of the animal model. Burned eyes were evaluated clinically and allowed to progress for up to 65 days before histologic examination. The mechanism of HF toxicity was investigated through the study of burns produced by chemicals chosen to mimic its pH effects, osmotic effects, and effects of the free fluoride ion alone. The severe progressive caustic effect of HF on the eyes was found to depend on the combination of pH and the toxic effects of the free fluoride ion, together causing extensive dose-related damage to superficial and deep structures of the eye. Mild burns caused reversible ocular injury; whereas more severe burns led to corneal stromal scarring, vascularization, edema, formation of calcific band keratopathy plus iris and ciliary body fibrosis. An investigation was made of potential treatments for experimental ocular HF burns in rabbits. Topical ointments containing MgO or MgSO4 and irrigations, with or subconjunctival injections of H2O or solutions containing NaCl, MgCl2, CaCl2, LaCl3, hyamine, zephiran, calcium gluconate, or a mixture of divalent metal ions were tested for toxicity and for therapeutic value in ocluar HF burns. Immediate single irrigation with H2O, NaCl or MgCl2 solution was most effective. Other therapeutic agents commonly used in HF skin burn therapy were either too toxic in normal eyes or caused additive damage to burned eyes.

I can testify to a positive experience with the Morgan Lens.  Patient:  myself.  I had a patient who regurgitated the charcoal given to him for his OD, just after I had removed my protective face mask.  I sustained an eyeful of activated charcoal.  It was removed almost painlessly by several liters of N.S. irrigation via the Morgan Lens, much more easily than the "old way" of using fingers to open lids and squirting the eye.

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Why Use The Morgan Lens?

The Morgan Lens is used in 90% of hospital emergency departments in the USA and can be inserted in less than 20 seconds. There simply is no other "hands-free" method of eye irrigation. Nothing else frees medical personnel to treat other injuries or to transport the patient while irrigation is underway. Nothing is more effective at treating ocular chemical, thermal, and actinic burns or removing non-embedded foreign bodies, even when the patient's eyes are closed tightly. Its design makes it simple and straightforward to use so minimal training is required.