Drug Shortage

Shortage of trypan blue 0.15% ophthalmic solution for injection

Amsler grid distorted by severe macular pucker

Part of the joy of growing old is the development of epiretinal membranes. As the name implies, they are formed on top of your retina. Then they pull or “pucker” the retina, almost always in the area of the macula, so that your vision is distorted. Their pull can be so strong that the retina is detached from the rear of the eye.

eye with macula labeled

Vision can be improved and retinal detachment prevented by surgically removing the membrane. For this surgery, the membrane to be removed is made apparent to the surgeon by injection into the eye of a 0.15% solution of trypan blue dye. This dye solution is presently in short supply, as reported by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.

In the YouTube video below, the syringe containing the dye appears at 0:18 seconds. Warning: Watching this video is not for the faint of heart.

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