What are the possible complications of lateral canthotomy and cantholysis?

Updated: Jun 11, 2020
  • Author: Anna G Gushchin, MD; Chief Editor: Edsel B Ing, MD, MPH, FRCSC, PhD, MA  more...
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Complications include iatrogenic injury to the globe or lateral rectus; ptosis due to damage to the levator aponeurosis, which is located superiorly [20] ; and injury to the lacrimal gland and lacrimal artery, which also lie superiorly. Less common complications include bleeding and infection. Extensive cantholysis may result in ectropion. [16] Irreversible vision loss can occur if retina ischemia time is greater than 90-120 minutes.

If there is corneal exposure, lubricating ointment and a plastic moisture chamber (eg, Tegaderm patch) can be applied without pressure on the globe. Do not apply cotton patches or pressure patches over a proptotic globe.

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