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08 June 2023 : Case report  Brazil

Unexpected Ocular Manifestations Due to Exposure to Highly Concentrated Peracetic Acid: A Case Report

Unusual clinical course, Challenging differential diagnosis, Diagnostic / therapeutic accidents, Management of emergency care, Rare disease, Clinical situation which can not be reproduced for ethical reasons

Luiz William L.S. Cavalcanti ORCID logo1EF, Antonio Brunno V. Nepomuceno ORCID logo2BCG, Juliana de Lucena Martins Ferreira ORCID logo3AD*

DOI: 10.12659/AJCR.940114

Am J Case Rep 2023; 24:e940114



BACKGROUND: Peracetic acid is among the disinfectants that irritate the upper respiratory tract, skin, and conjunctiva. It can cause symptoms of eye irritation, secondary to an inflammatory process that can lead to various manifestations. Irritation happens due to the high reduction potential of the acid, which causes the consequent release of reactive oxygen species. This fact serves to reinforce the importance of personal protective equipment when handling peracetic acid.

CASE REPORT: During an accident at work, a 21-year-old patient received a strong jet of disinfectant solution directly into both eyes. The composition of the disinfectant solution was 15% peracetic acid, 15-16% hydrogen peroxide, 22-23% acetic acid, and 16-17% horticultural sanitizers. Twenty-four hours after the incident, eye damage (punctate keratitis and low visual acuity) had occurred, and was treated by washing the eye with ice water and frequently applying lubricating eye drops. The next day, the patient returned with an improvement of irritative symptoms, but with a major complaint of low visual acuity in left eye, secondary to optic neuritis, detected by fundoscopy and confirmed by optical coherence tomography. In the following week, fluorescent angiography indicated the persistence of neuritis in the left eye. This was treated with prednisone, 40 mg/day, which brought about gradual improvement. Two months later, the patient returned with test results showing normal magnetic resonance imaging and negative serologies (for syphilis, HIV, and herpes virus), visual acuity 20/20 in both eyes, and normalization of angiography and optical coherence tomography parameters.

CONCLUSIONS: Until now, there have been no published studies demonstrating neuritis caused by direct contact of peracetic acid into the eyes. Therefore, this is the first report in the world literature of this manifestation of ocular exposure to peracetic acid. This is a chemical formulation that is widely useful and prevents the growth of various pathogens. Further investigation and studies on the subject should be encouraged to improve its management and use.

Keywords: Keratitis, optic neuritis, papilledema, Peracetic Acid, personal protective equipment

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American Journal of Case Reports eISSN: 1941-5923
American Journal of Case Reports eISSN: 1941-5923