Postmortal "vital" staining of the external eye.


Two hundred and two eyes from 112 individuals were vital-stained from 2 to 46 h after death. Intensity and extension of staining were studied in ten regions. The staining gradually progressed after death, also within non-exposed areas. It most often started anteriorly on the tarsus and finanally included the fornix. Microscopy revealed diffuse cell staining by rose bengal or trypan blue. The cell nucleus was most often more intensely stained than the cytoplasm. Up to five h after death, neutral red had only stained vacuoles in the cytoplasm. Later diffuse staining of cells occurred. Tetrazolium differed from the above dyes in that the pronounced staining seen immediately after death gradually decreased in the course of time. Microscopy disclosed stained inclusion bodies in the cytoplasm up to 18 h after death. Then cell staining was only seen as a rare exception in relation to extracellular dye granules. However, the mucous thread in the inferior fornix showed gradually increasing postmortal tetrazolium staining. The amount of mucus was found to be the same in dead persons as in the living. The characteristic appearance of the dead eye is due, among other things, to ruptures of the corneal epithelium (fluorescein-stained) and cell death, and not to drying up or coating by mucus.

Cite this paper

@article{Norn1979PostmortalS, title={Postmortal "vital" staining of the external eye.}, author={Mogens S Norn}, journal={Acta ophthalmologica}, year={1979}, volume={57 2}, pages={296-304} }