Complications related to a cosmetic eye-whitening procedure

Rosalind C. Vo, Ksenia Stafeeva, Anthony J. Aldave, R. Doyle Stulting, Quianta Moore, Stephen C. Pflugfelder, Neil C. Chungfat, Douglas S. Holsclaw, Todd P. Margolis, Sophie X. Deng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Results: Seventeen eyes of 9 patients underwent cosmetic eye-whitening performed between 2 and 48 months prior to referral to one of the centers. Sixteen of the 17 eyes had persistent conjunctival epithelial defects, with 10 eyes requiring amniotic membrane grafting to facilitate re-epithelialization. Four eyes of 2 patients developed limbal stem cell compromise confirmed with in vivo confocal laser scanning microscopy. One patient developed infectious scleritis and diplopia resulting from Tenon capsule scarring. Another patient developed scleral necrosis, secondary infectious scleritis, and infectious endophthalmitis. This patient subsequently developed noninfectious scleritis that required 3-drug-regimen immunosuppression.

Conclusion: Severe adverse effects can occur after extensive cosmetic conjunctival resection followed by topical mitomycin C application. Patients and physicians should be aware of the potential sight-threatening complications associated with this eye-whitening procedure.

Purpose: To report sight-threatening complications following extensive bulbar conjunctival resection and postoperative mitomycin C therapy for cosmetic eyewhitening in the United States.

Design: Retrospective noncomparative case series.

Methods: Multicenter report of 9 patients referred for evaluation and management of complications following bilateral cosmetic eye whitening.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)967-973
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of ophthalmology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


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