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Landers, Maurice B III MD*; Watson, Jessica S MD; Ulrich, J Niklas MD*; Quiroz-Mercado, Hugo MD

doi: 10.1097/IAE.0b013e31821c3ee0
Original Study

Purpose/Background: To maximize recovery after neurologic injury, physicians use therapeutic hypothermia of 90°F to 93°F (32.2–33.9°C). Temperatures below this are avoided because of increased side effects. The extent to which the retina is cooled during routine vitreous surgery is unknown. This study seeks to describe the temperature changes of the vitreous and retinal surface during vitreous surgery.

Methods: In this prospective study of 6 patients undergoing vitrectomy, a 23-gauge thermoprobe was used to measure intraocular temperatures before, during, and after vitrectomy.

Results: Before vitrectomy, the mean midvitreous temperature was 93.1°F (33.9°C) and retinal temperature was 94.7°F to 95.4°F (34.8–35.2°C). During vitrectomy, the mean midvitreous cavity temperature was 76.9°F (24.9°C) and retinal temperature was 83.2°F to 85.1°F (28.4–29.5°C). After completion of vitrectomy and with a closed infusion line, the mean midvitreous cavity temperature was 87.0°F (30.6°C) and retinal temperature was 90.1°F to 90.9°F (32.3–32.7°C). These changes in temperature before, during, and after vitrectomy were found to be statistically significant.

Conclusion: During routine vitreous surgery, the vitreous cavity and retina are cooled to much lower temperatures than those used in therapeutic hypothermia. Rapid rewarming occurs within the eye once the infusion line is closed.

From the *Department of Ophthalmology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina; †University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina; and ‡Department of Ophthalmology, University of Colorado, Denver, Colorado.

Supported by the Doris Duke Clinical Research Foundation. The sponsor or funding organization had no role in the design or conduct of this research.

Presented at the 29th Annual Squaw Valley Retinal Symposium; February 5, 2010; Squaw Valley, CA

Presented at the Vail Vitrectomy Meeting; March 14, 2010; Vail, Colorado.

The authors have no proprietary or financial interest in this research.

The research was performed at the Hospital Luis Sánchez Bulnes in Mexico City, Mexico.

Reprint requests: Maurice B. Landers III, MD, Department of Ophthalmology, University of North Carolina, 130 Mason Farm Road, CB 7040, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7040; e-mail:

© The Ophthalmic Communications Society, Inc.