Vital dyes in ophthalmology: an update
Vital dyes have advanced diagnosis and surgical technique in various specialties, including oncology,gastroenterology and ophthalmology. Intra-operative and diagnostic dyes are finding uses in all areas ofophthalmology, including cornea, cataract, retina, glaucoma, orbit and conjunctiva.

Published in the journal Current Eye Research, the authors provide a summary of current knowledge of the chemical concepts of vital dyes in ophthalmology.

They review the properties of dyes,techniques of application, indications and complications in ocular surgery. The authors conclude that vital dyes represent an expanding area of research, and novel dyes deserve further investigation.

There is general agreement that, in cataract surgery, vital dyes enable much better visualization of the anterior capsule, although some issues remain. Various dyes are used today in corneal diseases, and each has unique properties that are beneficial fora specific use. Rose bengal has the unique property of evaluating the protective status of the preocular tear film.

Fluorescein penetrates intercellular space, and staining indicates increased epithelial permeability. Lissamine green B stains devitalized cells. Recent exploration into the interaction of different dyes to tear film layer and corneal epithelial cells have clarified the mechanism of actions of these dyes and enhanced the understanding of the underlying pathogenesis of various ocular surface disorders.

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