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Year : 1991  |  Volume : 39  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 134-135

Serum zinc in corneal ulcer-A preliminary report

Eye Care and Research Centre. Biplabi Niketan 12/A. Biresh Guha Street Calcutta - 700017., India

Correspondence Address:
Santanu Kumar Pati
Midnapore-721101, Mirzabazar
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 1841890

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In recent times zinc is emerging as a nutrient of clinical importance and had been found to be low in serum in various disease conditions. In the current study 11 control cases and 22 corneal ulcer cases were taken. Their serum zinc level was measured by atomic absorption spectrophotometer. Serum zinc level in recalcitrant corneal ulcer cases was found to be below normal.

How to cite this article:
Pati SK, Mukherji R. Serum zinc in corneal ulcer-A preliminary report. Indian J Ophthalmol 1991;39:134-5

How to cite this URL:
Pati SK, Mukherji R. Serum zinc in corneal ulcer-A preliminary report. Indian J Ophthalmol [serial online] 1991 [cited 2022 Jun 29];39:134-5. Available from: https://www.ijo.in/text.asp?1991/39/3/134/24450

  Introduction Top

Tauber and Kraus first established the presence of zinc within the eye in 1943. According to them, zinc concentration of ocular tissues is unusually high in comparison with the other parts of the body. Galin also in 1962 determined that the ocular tissues in man contain high concentration of zinc. But human deficiency was not clearly established before 1972. In recent years, demonstration of the value of zinc replacements in patients with Acrodermatitis Enteropathica have prompted renewed interest in the role of this element in promoting healing of surgical wounds and chronic ulcers. Several investigations suggest that wound healing is delayed in patients with zinc deficiency. With this background, in the current study we wanted to ascertain that serum zinc level has got any influence on corneal ulcer.

  Material and methods Top

The utilization of atomic absorption spectrophotometry in clinical laboratory practice seems to be gaining increasing acceptance. The present work was carried out at the Geological Survey of India, Calcutta with a commercially available atomic absorption spectrophotometer (Varian AA-6 model) equipped with a high solid burner head and using acetylene as fuel and air as oxidizer. In the present study the wave length for zinc was 213 nm.

Water used for dilution and rinsing glassware was doubly distilled and demineralized.

Reagent used for processing of serum was 8% Trichloroacetic acid (TCA).

The cases were selected from the patients attending the Eye Care and Research Centre, Calcutta.

The study included the presumably normal individuals and corneal ulcer patients who were free from any disease in particular Diabetes mellitus, Tuberculosis, chronic pulmonary fibrotic diseases, sickle cell trait and skin ulcers or wounds.

In the current study altogether 33 cases were taken of which 11 cases were normal individuals without any ailment and 22 cases were corneal ulcer patients. These 22 corneal ulcer patients were grouped into 3 categories. 8 patients were early corneal ulcer cases, 5 patients were in the ulcer healing stages and the remaining 10 patients were recalcitrant cor­neal ulcer cases who were found to be bacteriologi­cally negative in their conjunctival swabs, yet they were not improving inspite of all therapeutic agents.

Venous blood was taken in the morning in metal free tubes and all the individuals were in the fasting state. After separating the cells from the blood, the serum was mixed with an equal volume of 8% (w/v) Trichloroacetic acid thoroughly and then allowed to stand for 5 minutes, before being centrifuged. The supernatant was then directly aspirated into the burner of the atomic absorption spectrophotometer and the readings recorded.

  Results Top

The mean value of 11 control cases was 142.91 mg/100 ml. of serum ± 9.61 (S.D.), mean serum zinc level of 3 groups of corneal ulcer cases :­

1. Early cases 148.25 mg/100 ml. of serum ± 6.84

(S. D) .

2. Healing cases 149.20 mg/100 ml. of serum ± 8.03 (S. D) .

3. Recalcitrant cases 128 mg/100 ml. of serum ± 7.66 (S.D)

Thus we find that serum zinc level was lowered in recalcitrant cases of corneal ulcer not responding to any treatment and which were bacteriologically sterile in their conjunctival swabs.

  Discussion Top

We see that it is not the infective condition which is only responsible for the progression of corneal ulcers and hindered healing. But there are some other factors which are responsible for the progression and nonhealing of which nutritional status of the patient may have a role. Therefore, it is important to build up tissue resistance by enhancing the nutri­tional status of the individual. Zinc as an- essential trace element may help in this way.

But, from these limited number of cases in our current series, it is difficult for us to conclude that in cases of corneal ulcer, serum zinc level decreases. This requires further extensive study[4].

  References Top

Tauber FW.. The role of trace elements in the metabolism of ocular tissues. Am. Journal Ophthal, 1943; 26 ; 260-6.  Back to cited text no. 1
Leopold IH, Zinc deficiency and visual impairment, Am. Journal Ophthal, 1978: 85. 871-4.  Back to cited text no. 2
Zinc deficiency with Corneal ulcer in infant,Oph. Literature, 1982, December. 136.  Back to cited text no. 3
Anderson A.R., Comparison of aqueous humor and serum zinc levels in humans, Brit. Journal Ophthal, 1987; 71. 212-214.  Back to cited text no. 4


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