Commercial ophthalmic ointments were applied to variously traumatized corneas, both in clinical and experimental situations, in attempts to cause ointment entrapment. No ointment could be entrapped within the epithelium except by direct injection under the epithelium and within the stroma only if the ointment was totally surrounded by stroma. The data presented suggest that corneal entrapment probably occurs only infrequently after topical ocular ointment applications. Clinically, the picture of the nonlipid entity, corneal spheroidal degeneration, is easily confused with that of entrapped corneal ointment. However, this does not imply that one may be indiscriminate in the topical application of ocular ointments, especially in penetrating corneal wounds, jagged or slanting stromal injuries, prior to adequate surgical repair. Chances of corneal ointment entrapment in other medical or traumatic conditions must be a rare event causing few serious side effects.
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