Background: To evaluate the ocular toxicity of trypan blue (TB) injected into the vitreous cavity of rabbit eyes. TB is a dye that could be useful for staining epiretinal membranes during vitrectomy surgery.
Methods: Ten New Zealand White (NZW) rabbits underwent gas-compression vitrectomy. Rabbits were divided into three groups to receive injections of 0.1 ml basic salt solution, 0.1 ml of a 0.06% TB solution or 0.1 ml of a 0.2% TB solution. Ocular toxicity was assessed by slit-lamp biomicroscopy, ophthalmoscopy, electroretinography and histology.
Results: Transient posterior capsule opacification was noted in all animals. No significant reductions in a-wave or b-wave amplitudes were found in any of the animals. Light and electron microscopic examination of the inferior retina in the 0.2% TB-treated eyes showed damaged photoreceptors and marked disorganization. Immunohistochemical staining for rhodopsin was strongly reduced in those sections and staining for proliferation with Ki-67 was positive. No histological abnormalities were found in the upper retina of the 0.2% TB-treated eyes or in any part of the retina of the 0.06% TB-treated or control eyes. No histological abnormalities were found in any of the anterior chamber angle specimens.
Conclusions: Although no signs of toxicity were found after the prolonged presence of TB at a concentration of 0.06% in the vitreous cavity of rabbit eyes, marked damage occurred in the lower retina of 0.2% TB-treated eyes. The short-term presence of TB at a concentration of 0.06% in the vitreous cavity is harmless to the rabbit eye but a higher concentration of TB could be unsafe.