Retinal silicone oil emulsification found with SD-OCT

September 19, 2013

According to recent data small hyperreflective areas found intraretinally, subretinally and underneath the epiretinal membranes with spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) could be small bubbles of emulsified silicone.

According to recent data small hyperreflective areas found intraretinally, subretinally and underneath the epiretinal membranes with spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) could be small bubbles of emulsified silicone.

In this study, the authors (Dr Marie-Hélène Errera et al., Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, UK, and Centre Hospitalier National des Quinze-Vingts, Paris, France) performed a retrospective case study on 11 eyes of 11 patients. Patients who had undergone vitrectomy and silicone oil tamponade whose SD-OCT imaging had shown silicone oil emulsion manifestations were identified.

Out of these 11 patients, 9 had undergone treatment as a result of rhegmatogenous retinal detachment, 1 for panuveitis with retinal necrosis and 1 for recurrent full-thickness macular hole surgery. For comparison, a model eye was also injected with emulsified silicone oil and imaged with SD-OCT.

SD-OCT imaging was performed once the silicone oil had been removed in 8 patients and with the oil in situ in 3 patients. Out of the 11 eyes, 10 demonstrated hyperreflective, spherical, tiny droplets on the SD-OCT images. For the most part, these were believed to be intraretinal oil droplets or found underneath the epiretinal membrane. One eye featured silicone oil droplets subretinally and one eye had silicone oil droplets intravitreally. Additionally, the model eye was examined and revealed similar findings to those seen with in vivo SD-OCT imaging.

Based on these results, the authors concluded that the hyperreflective areas were likely to be emulsified silicone, but they stipulated that further research is required to determine the incidence and significance, both clinically and functionally, of silicone oil emulsification with the layers of the retina.

More information on this may be found by reading the abstract in the journal Retina.