Moran CORE

Open source ophthalmology education for students, residents, fellows, healthcare workers, and clinicians. Produced by the Moran Eye Center in partnership with the Eccles Library

Search Moran CORE

Stains and Processing

Home / Ophthalmic Pathology / Stains

Tissue Processing

Hematoxylin and Eosin (H&E)

Mamalis Stains 01 unlabeled  Mamalis Stains 01 labeled

H&E stain of cornea

Periodic Acid-Schiff (PAS)

Mamalis Stains 02 unlabeled  Mamalis Stains 02 labeled

PAS stain of corneal epithelium, Bowman’s membrane, and stroma

Alcian Blue

Mamalis Stains 03 unlabeled  Mamalis Stains 03 labeled

Alcian Blue stain in Macular corneal stromal dystrophy

Colloidal Iron

Alizarin Red

Mamalis Stains 04 unlabeled  Mamalis Stains 04 labeled

Calcification on explanted IOL

Von Kossa

Congo Red

Mamalis Stains 05 unlabeled  Mamalis Stains 05 labeled

Congo red stain in Lattice corneal stromal dystrophy

Mamalis Stains 06 unlabeled  Mamalis Stains 06 labeled

Apple-green birefringence of corneal tissue

Crystal Violet

Thioflavin T

Masson’s Trichrome

Mamalis Stains 07 unlabeled  Mamalis Stains 07 labeled

Masson’s Trichrome stain in Granular corneal stromal dystrophy

Gram Stain


Mamalis Stains 08 unlabeled  Mamalis Stains 08 labeled

Gram stain showing gram-positive bacteria


Gomori Methenamine Silver (GMS)

Mamalis Stains 09 unlabeled  Mamalis Stains 09 labeled

GMS stain showing yeast


Mamalis Stains 10 unlabeled  Mamalis Stains 10 labeled

Gridley stain showing Acanthamoeba cysts in the cornea

Prussian Blue

Mamalis Stains 11 unlabeled   Mamalis Stains 11 labeled

Prussian blue stain of cornea

Verhoeff-van Gieson

Oil Red O

Mamalis Stains 12 unlabeled  Mamalis Stains 12 labeled

Oil Red O stain showing arcus senilis of the cornea

Sudan Black

Immunohistochemistry (IHC)

Mamalis Stains 13 unlabeled  Mamalis Stains 13 labeled

S-100 immunohistochemistry stain identifying melanocytes

Electron Microscopy

Mamalis Stains 14 unlabeled  Mamalis Stains 14 labeled

TEM of Iris Pigment Epithelium Leiomyoma

Summary of Common Stains in Ocular Pathology

Stains Colors Examples
H&E Blue: nucleus

Red/pink: cytoplasm

Routine tissue stain
PAS Magenta: basement membrane glycogen and proteoglycans Descemet membrane
Alcian Blue Blue: acid mucopolysaccharides Macular corneal stromal dystrophy
Colloidal Iron Blue: acid mucopolysaccharides

Red/purple: collagen

Macular corneal stromal dystrophy
Alizarin Red Red: calcium Band keratopathy
Von Kossa Black: calcium phosphate Band keratopathy
Congo Red Orange with red-green birefringence: amyloid Lattice corneal stromal dystrophy
Crystal Violet Purple/violet: amyloid Lattice corneal stromal dystrophy
Thioflavin T Fluorescent yellow: amyloid Lattice corneal stromal dystrophy
Masson’s Trichrome Blue: collagen

Dark red/purple: nuclei

Red: cytoplasm, muscle

Granular corneal stromal dystrophy
Gram Stain Blue: Gram-positive bacteria

Red: Gram-negative bacteria

Yellow: corneal stroma

Bacterial infections
Ziehl-Neelsen Red: acid-fast organisms

Blue: background

GMS Black: fungal elements

Blue-green: background

Fungal infections
Gridley Gray-silver: acanthamoeba cysts

Green: background

Acanthamoeba infections
Prussian Blue Blue: iron Hemosiderosis bulbi
Verhoeff-van Gieson Black: elastic fibers Temporal artery biopsy
Oil Red-O Red: lipid Sebaceous carcinoma
Sudan Black Black: lipid Sebaceous carcinoma


Harper RA. Basic Ophthalmology. Amer Academy of Ophthalmology; 2010.

Yanoff M, Fine BS. Ocular Pathology, A Text and Atlas. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 1989.