Euphorbia sap keratopathy: Four cases and a possible pathogenic mechanism

Ingrid U. Scott, Carol L. Karp

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32 Scopus citations


Aims - To report four cases of Euphorbia sap causing anterior segment toxicity. Methods-Medical records of four patients who presented with Euphorbia sap keratoconjunctivitis were reviewed. Clinical findings were compared with previously published reports. Results - All of these patients experienced a similar clinical course. Initial contact with Euphorbia sap caused punctate epitheliopathy; patients noted immediate burning and photophobia, but no visual loss. In all cases, patients experienced epithelial slough with delayed healing, requiring approximately 9 days to heal the epithelial defect. Patients were treated with topical antibiotics, pressure patching, or a bandage contact lens, and final visual acuities were excellent in all cases. A review of the literature revealed that Euphorbia sap contains a diterpenoid diester which exhibits antineoplastic activity in rodents. Conclusions - Individuals who work with Euphorbia plants should be cautioned to wear eye protection. Patients with Euphorbia sap anterior segment toxicity should be informed that their condition may worsen initially, but that visual outcome is generally excellent. The progressive corneal epithelial sloughing and delayed corneal epithelial healing may be secondary to the antineoplastic effects of Euphorbia sap.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)823-826
Number of pages4
JournalBritish Journal of Ophthalmology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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