The joint pathology center/vision center of excellence approach to analyzing intra-ocular "foreign bodies"

Michael R. Lewin-Smith, Stacy L. Strausborger, H. Marie Jenkins, Natalya Merezhinskaya, Paul A. Latkany, Robert A. Mazzoli, Marcus H. Colyer, Michael J. Mines

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background The Military Health System recognizes the importance of analyzing "foreign bodies" removed from US service members through several policy documents. This activity focuses on detecting potentially toxic metals. Intra-ocular "foreign bodies" (IOFBs) represent a small, clinically important subset. The development of ocular metallosis with iron and copper fragments is a specific local reaction to IOFBs. The results of the compositional analysis of removed IOFBs can influence clinical management decisions aimed at optimizing the preservation of sight. Method The Joint Pathology Center (JPC) and Vision Center of Excellence (VCE) have established a pathway for the analysis of IOFBs removed from Department of Defense and Veterans Health Administration patients. The analysis of IOFBs uses analytical methods to provide information about the fragments' surface elemental and molecular composition. Results Metallic specimens analyzed included iron and copper-containing fragments. Non-metallic IOFBs analyzed include glass, plastic (polyurethane), and nitro-cellulose fragments. Conclusion The JPC/VCE approach to analyzing IOFBs promotes uniform handling and shipping of specimens to minimize contamination. The analytical approach allows for the characterization of IOFBs with a wide variety of compositions. The results support clinical management decisions aimed at optimal treatment for the preservation of patients' visual acuity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)565-570
Number of pages6
JournalMilitary Medicine
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • combat trauma
  • compositional analysis
  • foreign bodies
  • ocular injury
  • ocular trauma


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