Delineation of the vitreous and posterior hyaloid using bromophenol blue

Retina. 2008 Feb;28(2):333-9. doi: 10.1097/IAE.0b013e31814fb0ff.


Purpose: To describe visualization of the vitreous and the posterior hyaloid membrane using bromophenol blue during vitrectomy for macular hole and retinal detachment.

Patients and methods: Six patients with macular holes and four with retinal detachments were included in the study. Before and after surgery, complete clinical examination, including funduscopy and measurements of best-corrected visual acuity and intraocular pressure, was performed. Additional functional tests, such as fluorescein angiography, optical coherence tomography (Stratus OCT; Carl Zeiss Meditec, Jena, Germany, Germany), Goldmann perimetry, and multifocal electroretinography as well as photography of the posterior pole, were performed for macular hole patients. Bromophenol blue was used in concentrations of 0.2%. During macular hole surgery, the dye was injected into the air-filled globe, while during surgery for retinal detachment, the globe was partially filled with perfluorocarbon before dye injection after induction of a posterior vitreous detachment to stain the vitreous peripherally.

Results: Bromophenol blue provided sufficient staining of the attached posterior hyaloid membrane and vitreous remnants in the periphery. This was especially helpful for patients in whom a posterior vitreous detachment could not be induced mechanically by suction using the vitrectomy probe alone, as seen in three of six interventions for a macular hole in this series. In addition, staining of the vitreous or vitreous remnants in the periphery and at the vitreous base was seen in all patients and helped to completely remove the vitreous in a controlled fashion. After macular hole surgery, increase of visual acuity from 20/100 (mean) to 20/40 was seen during follow-up up to 6 months. In one case, the hole persisted and required a second operation. Finally, closure of the hole was achieved in all patients. After retinal detachment surgery, reattachment was achieved in all cases. No dye-related adverse events were seen during follow-up as shown by the functional tests (visual acuity measurement, electroretinography, and perimetry) applied.

Conclusion: Delineation of the vitreous and the posterior hyaloid using bromophenol blue staining greatly facilitates vitreoretinal procedures. Bromophenol blue appeared to be a very helpful and safe tool to visualize the posterior hyaloid membrane in macular hole surgery and assured its complete separation from the retinal surface. The dye also helped to remove vitreous at the vitreous base during retinal detachment surgery. Therefore, bromophenol blue appears as a very good alternative to triamcinolone, which has been used for this purpose, because the dye has no pharmacological properties and no side effects are likely to occur such as cataract formation and increase in intraocular pressure. Further studies including larger numbers of patients are mandatory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Bromphenol Blue*
  • Coloring Agents*
  • Electroretinography
  • Female
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Fluorocarbons / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Intraocular Pressure
  • Male
  • Membranes / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Retinal Detachment / surgery*
  • Retinal Perforations / surgery*
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence
  • Visual Acuity
  • Visual Field Tests
  • Vitrectomy / methods*
  • Vitreous Body / pathology*


  • Coloring Agents
  • Fluorocarbons
  • Bromphenol Blue
  • perfluoroethane