To describe a series of retinal acute toxicity cases with severe visual loss after intraocular use of a toxic perfluoro-octane (PFO). The clinical presentation is described, and the likely causes are analyzed. New biological methods for testing safety of intraocular medical devices are proposed.
Information regarding a series of eyes suffering acute severe events after intraocular use of a toxic PFO was analyzed. Four types of spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance, and chromatography were used to identify the potential PFO contaminants. Cultures of human retinal pigment epithelial cells (ARPE-19) and porcine neuroretina were used to quantify the toxicity of the suspect PFO lots.
Of 117 cases of intraocular toxicity, 96 were considered clearly related to the use of PFO. Fifty-three cases had no light perception, and 97 had no measurable visual acuity. Retinal necrosis (n = 38) and vascular occlusion (n = 33) were the most characteristic findings. Two hydroxyl compounds, perfluorooctanoic acid and dodecafluoro-1-heptanol, and benzene derivatives were identified as the suspected toxic agents. While existing toxicity testing failed, we proposed new tests that demonstrated clear toxicity.
Protocols to determine cytotoxicity of intraocular medical devices should be revised to assure safety. Acute toxic events should be reported to health authorities and scientific media.