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Euphorbia sap keratopathy: four cases and a possible pathogenic mechanism.
  1. I U Scott and
  2. C L Karp
  1. Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Miami School of Medicine, Florida 33139, USA.


    AIMS: To report four cases of Euphorbia sap causing anterior segment toxicity. METHODS: Medical records of four patients who presented with Euphorbia sap keratoconjunctivitis were reviewed. Clinical findings were compared with previously published reports. RESULTS: All of these patients experienced a similar clinical course. Initial contact with Euphorbia sap caused punctate epitheliopathy; patients noted immediate burning and photophobia, but no visual loss. In all cases, patients experienced epithelial slough with delayed healing, requiring approximately 9 days to heal the epithelial defect. Patients were treated with topical antibiotics, pressure patching or a bandage contact lens, and final visual acuities were excellent in all cases. A review of the literature revealed that Euphorbia sap contains a diterpenoid diester which exhibits antineoplastic activity in rodents. CONCLUSIONS: Individuals who work with Euphorbia plants should be cautioned to wear eye protection. Patients with Euphorbia sap anterior segment toxicity should be informed that their condition may worsen initially, but that visual outcome is generally excellent. The progressive corneal epithelial sloughing and delayed corneal epithelial healing may be secondary to the antineoplastic effects of Euphorbia sap.

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