Purpose: Changes in the optic nerve due to the breakdown of blood elements and the effect of deferoxamine on these changes were evaluated.
Methods: The study group consisted of 12 rabbits. Three rabbits were used as control. In Group I, three rabbits had bilateral retrobulbar haematoma induced. In Group II, three rabbits had bilateral retrobulbar haematoma induced and were given systemic deferoxamine. In Group III, three rabbits were only given deferoxamine. At day 21, all the rabbits underwent bilateral enucleation and specimens from the orbital fat tissue were removed for light microscopic examination. The optic nerves were examined by light and electron microscopy.
Results: Light microscopic examination of the optic nerves did not reveal significant differences among the groups. Electron microscopy revealed ultrastructural changes in Group I. There were no significant pathological findings observed in Groups II or III. There was abundant iron pigment in the orbital fat tissue of Group I, but only a small amount in Group II.
Conclusion: Systemic deferoxamine treatment is effective in preventing degenerative changes in retrobulbar haematoma.