Cyanoacrylate glue for corneal perforations: a description of a surgical technique and a review of the literature

Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2000 Dec;28(6):437-42. doi: 10.1046/j.1442-9071.2000.00351.x.


The effective early application of a cyanoacrylate glue corneal patch can aid in the management of small corneal perforations, corneal melts and wound leaks. Their use gives improved visual outcomes with reduced enucleation rates (6% vs 19%). It may also avoid the need for tectonic penetrating keratoplasty. Cyanoacrylate glue prevents re-epithelialization into the zone of damaged and naked stroma and prevents the development of the critical setting for collagenase production that leads to stromal melting. Cyanoacrylates also have significant bacteriostatic activity against gram-positive organisms. We describe a simple and easily reproducible method of cyanoacrylate corneal patch application, with neglible risk of inadvertent glue complications. It has the further advantage of a smooth corneal surface rather than an irregular surface as often occurs with direct application methods. With corneal application, the major concern is toxicity of cyanoacrylates through direct contact with the corneal endothelium and lens. Fibrin glues may be less toxic; however, they are not as readily available. The longer alkyl chains of currently available cyanoacrylate glues (e.g. Histoacryl) slows degradation significantly, limiting accumulation of histotoxic by-products to amounts that can be effectively eliminated by tissues. Vigilance in monitoring for infection/corneal infiltrate is necessary at all times, especially when the glue has been present for more than 6 weeks. Corneal patching with cyanoacrylate glue is a temporizing procedure only, buying time to allow healing secondary to medical treatment of the underlying condition, or allowing surgery to be elective and under more optimal conditions once inflammation has been reduced and the integrity of the globe restored.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Corneal Diseases / therapy*
  • Corneal Injuries*
  • Cyanoacrylates / adverse effects
  • Cyanoacrylates / chemistry
  • Cyanoacrylates / therapeutic use*
  • Eye Injuries / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Ophthalmologic Surgical Procedures*
  • Patient Selection
  • Rupture
  • Rupture, Spontaneous


  • Cyanoacrylates