Ocular Histopathology

Handling Tips for Ophthalmic Submissions

  1.  Appropriate fixation solutions for the globe include 10% buffered formaldehyde, Bouin's fluid, and Davidson's solution.
  2. To improve intraocular penetration, globes fixed in formaldehyde should receive an intravitreal formaldehyde injection (0.5-1.0 ml) using a 25 gauge needle inserted through the sclera near the optic nerve. 
  3. For globes removed due to orbital neoplasia (usually with exenteration), mark margins that must be examined in detail using either India Ink or Davidson's Marking solution.
  4.  If eyelids or extensive orbital tissues are removed with the globe, these tissues should be trimmed from their attachments and marked or labeled. Alternatively, orbital tissue may be incised to the sclera every 0.5-1.0 cm. 
  5. The cut surfaces of eyelid, conjunctival, and adnexal biopsies should also be marked to allow orientation.  

Shipping Instructions

  ATTENTION: USPS updated their STAMPED MAIL policy on October 1, 2019. Any packages >10oz and >1/2in. thickness cannot be mailed with regular stamps. Postage Meters, PC Postage, & mailing from the post office is OK. All others will be returned to sender as NOT DELIVERABLE.
Visit: https://pe.usps.com/FederalRegisterNotice/Index                                                          


  1. Complete the Department of Veterinary Pathology Ocular Histopathology Submission form and submit it with the specimen.
  2. Place the specimen in a labeled, sealed, wide-mouthed plastic bottle (no glass containers, please) with 10-20 volumes of fixative. Wrap parafilm around the lid and place the bottle in a plastic bag with absorbent material (such as paper towels). Package in a cardboard box and ship by a carrier of your choice to:
    Iowa State University
    Department of Veterinary Pathology
    2703 Veterinary Medicine
    Ames, IA 50011-1250
  3. To ensure quality histopathology results during cold weather it is advised to either; 1) send the tissue in alcoholic formalin or 2) fix tissues completely in 10% neutral buffered formalin for at least 24 hours before mailing. Recipes for these solutions are available on our website. Please avoid mailing the sample over the weekend if unable to comply with the aforementioned.