ASCRS releases final TASS outbreak report

October 4, 2006

The American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) released a final report regarding the toxic anterior segment syndrome (TASS) outbreak, which began in early 2006. The final report addressed the findings and recommendations of the ASCRS TASS Task Force, led by Nick Mamalis, MD.

The American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) released a final report regarding the toxic anterior segment syndrome (TASS) outbreak, which began in early 2006. The final report addressed the findings and recommendations of the ASCRS TASS Task Force, led by Nick Mamalis, MD.

After evaluating outcomes, the task force found that most affected patients experienced a moderate degree of inflammation and recovered good visual acuity without significant ocular sequelae from the TASS. There was a small group of patients with more severe inflammation. These patients are reported to be undergoing ocular problems from the toxic insult.

The task force’s investigation found that the outbreak wasn’t brought on by one single cause or point source. Also, the investigation failed to identify evidence that supports an association between a shared product and the cases of TASS reported. The task force acknowledged that this does not mean an association did not exist, nor does it mean that the increase in cases was due to a change in reporting.

The cleaning and sterilization of instruments for cataract surgery appears to be the most important factor involved in many of the reviewed cases.

The task force hopes to establish guidelines for cleaning, sterilizing, and processing ophthalmic instruments with the goal of preventing future TASS outbreaks.

All products involved in preoperative preparation of the patient through postoperative care were reviewed and several potential factors identified as possible causes of TASS. These results were shared with the FDA and CDC.

While the task force will continue to evaluate potential etiologic factors involved in TASS, it appears as though the early 2006 outbreak has subsided significantly. Look for a more in-depth article regarding the TASS report in the Oct. 15, 2006 issue of Ophthalmology Times.

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