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PURPOSE: To investigate the biocompatibility of the new cyanine dye: 3,3'-Di-(4-sulfobutyl)-1,1,1',1'-tetramethyl-di-1H-benz[e]indocarbocyanine (DSS) as a vital dye for intraocular application in an in vivo rat model and to evaluate the effects of this dye on retinal structure and function. METHODS: DSS at a concentration of 0.5% was applied via intravitreal injections to adult Brown Norway rats with BSS serving as a control. Retinal toxicity was assessed 7 days later by means of retinal ganglion cell (RGC) counts, light microscopy, optical coherence tomography (OCT), and electroretinography (ERG). RESULTS: No significant decrease in RGC numbers was observed. No structural changes of the central retina were observed either in vivo (OCT) or under light microscopy. ERGs detected a temporary reduction of retinal function 7 days after injection; this was no longer evident 14 days after injection. CONCLUSIONS: DSS showed good biocompatibility in a well-established experimental in vivo setting and may be usable for intraocular surgery as an alternative to other cyanine dyes. In contrast to indocyanine green, it additionally offers fluorescence in the visual spectrum. Further studies with other animal models are needed before translation into clinical application.

Original publication




Journal article


Eye (Lond)

Publication Date





428 - 435


Animals, Basement Membrane, Biocompatible Materials, Carbocyanines, Cell Count, Coloring Agents, Electroretinography, Epiretinal Membrane, Female, Intravitreal Injections, Materials Testing, Rats, Rats, Inbred BN, Retina, Retinal Ganglion Cells, Staining and Labeling, Tomography, Optical Coherence