Migration of silicone oil into the brain: a complication of intraocular silicone oil for retinal tamponade

Am J Ophthalmol. 2000 May;129(5):685-8. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9394(00)00368-8.


Purpose: To report a case in which intravitreal silicone oil migrated along the intracranial portion of the optic nerve and into the lateral ventricles of the brain after the repair of a retinal detachment secondary to cytomegalovirus retinitis.

Methods: A 42-year-old man with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) developed a rhegmatogenous retinal detachment in his left eye secondary to a cytomegalovirus infection of the retina. The detachment was repaired using 5000 cs intraocular silicone oil for a long-term tamponade. Subsequently, the affected eye developed glaucoma, which was poorly controlled. Fifteen months after the retinal surgery, he developed a peripheral neuropathy that was thought to be AIDS related. Computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging of the head were performed to investigate the neuropathy.

Results: The patient was found to have a foreign substance within his lateral ventricles that shifted with position and was identical with respect to its imaging properties to the remaining intraocular silicone oil. Additional material was found along the intracranial portion of his optic nerve.

Conclusion: Under certain circumstances, intraocular silicone oil may migrate out of the eye, along the intracranial portion of the optic nerve, and into the lateral ventricles of the brain.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / complications
  • Adult
  • Brain Diseases / diagnosis
  • Brain Diseases / etiology*
  • Cytomegalovirus Retinitis / complications
  • Eye Foreign Bodies / diagnosis
  • Eye Foreign Bodies / etiology*
  • Foreign-Body Migration / diagnosis
  • Foreign-Body Migration / etiology*
  • Glaucoma / etiology
  • Humans
  • Intraocular Pressure
  • Laser Coagulation
  • Lateral Ventricles / pathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications* / diagnosis
  • Retinal Detachment / etiology
  • Retinal Detachment / surgery*
  • Silicone Oils*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Silicone Oils