R Jean Campbell

As the eye and the adnexal structures may be involved by systemic disease, as well as by direct extension from adjacent structures, it is important to consider their removal and study in the autopsy procedure (1,2). Primary pathology that involves the eye will obviously require the removal of these structures. Such primary pathology embraces not only neoplasms but congenital abnormalities, primary open angle glaucoma, and a host of retinal diseases for which the pathology may not hitherto have been described. In addition to the value of correlative information, the eyes provide valuable teaching material for those in training. Fresh tissue allows research procedures of the corneal endothelium and cells of the trabecular meshwork.

Forensic investigation may require sampling of the vitreous for toxicology and biochemical studies (3,4). The eye may also be injured directly or show the effects of a nonaccidental death such as child abuse (5). Legal and ethical considerations will vary from country to country and, within North America, from state to state, but the same health and safety considerations are utilised as for the general autopsy procedure.

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