Ability of new vital dyes to stain intraocular membranes and tissues in ocular surgery

Am J Ophthalmol. 2010 Feb;149(2):265-77. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2009.08.020. Epub 2009 Nov 6.


Purpose: To evaluate the ability of novel dyes to stain lens capsule (LC), internal limiting membrane (ILM), epiretinal membrane (ERM), and vitreous.

Design: Experimental study in animal and human donor eyes.

Methods: Thirteen dyes, methyl violet, crystal violet, eosin Y, sudan black B, methylene blue, toluidine blue, light green, indigo carmine, fast green, congo red, evans blue, brilliant blue, and bromophenol blue, were injected onto the LC and ILM of enucleated porcine eyes. The vitreous was stained with 2 mL of dyes for 1 minute. Six dyes (indigo carmine, evans blue, fast green, light green, bromophenol blue, and brilliant blue) were selected for experiments in human donor eyes and freshly removed ERM.

Results: In the porcine eyes, ILM staining with methylene blue, toluidine blue, indigo carmine, evans blue, bromophenol blue, and fast green was moderate, and methyl violet, crystal violet, brilliant blue, or sudan black resulted in strong staining. Methyl violet, crystal violet, sudan black, toluidine blue, and methylene blue caused histologic damage in porcine retinas. Vitreous examination revealed moderate staining with congo red, crystal violet, fast green, eosin Y, methylene blue, toluidine blue, brilliant blue, bromophenol blue, and methyl violet and strong staining with light green and evans blue. ERMs showed strong staining with 0.5% evans blue and moderate staining with 0.5% light green, fast green, brilliant blue, and bromophenol blue. Evaluation of donor eyes disclosed moderate staining with evans blue, light green, and bromophenol blue and strong staining with 0.5% brilliant blue. Moderate or strong staining of the vitreous occurred with most dyes. LC evaluation showed moderate staining with 0.5% evans blue, fast green, and brilliant blue, whereas 0.5% light green produced strong LC staining.

Conclusions: Brilliant blue shows the best ILM staining, whereas bromophenol blue, evans blue, and light green also stain ILM. Most dyes bind well to LC, vitreous, and ERM.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basement Membrane / anatomy & histology*
  • Basement Membrane / drug effects
  • Coloring Agents* / toxicity
  • Epiretinal Membrane / diagnosis*
  • Epiretinal Membrane / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Lens Capsule, Crystalline / anatomy & histology*
  • Lens Capsule, Crystalline / drug effects
  • Staining and Labeling / methods
  • Swine
  • Tissue Donors
  • Vitreous Body / anatomy & histology*
  • Vitreous Body / drug effects


  • Coloring Agents