Surface calcification of silicone plate intraocular lenses in patients with asteroid hyalosis

Am J Ophthalmol. 2004 Jun;137(6):979-87. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2003.12.047.


Purpose: To report three cases in which a silicone-plate lens was explanted because of whitish deposits on the posterior optic surface.

Design: Observational case series with clinicopathological correlation.

Patients and methods: In the three instances, the deposits were observed at least 2 years after uneventful cataract surgery. All of the patients had unilateral mild asteroid hyalosis in the concerned eye. After explantation of the lenses, gross and light microscopic analyses were performed. The posterior optic surfaces of the lenses also underwent scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy for analysis of the elemental composition of the deposits.

Results: Gross and light microscopic analyses revealed well-demarcated areas of whitish deposits on the posterior optic surface of the lenses, as well as multiple pits caused by Neodymium:yttrium aluminum garnet laser treatments. The deposits formed an amorphous layer with a "crustlike" appearance, which was confirmed by scanning electron microscopy. X-ray spectroscopy analyses demonstrated the composition of the deposits to be similar to hydroxyapatite.

Conclusions: The material opacifying the lenses was probably derived from the asteroid bodies or from a similar process that results in this vitreous condition. We were unaware of this association between asteroid hyalosis and late postoperative dystrophic calcification of silicone lenses.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Calcinosis / etiology*
  • Calcinosis / pathology
  • Device Removal
  • Durapatite / analysis
  • Electron Probe Microanalysis
  • Eye Diseases / complications*
  • Humans
  • Lens Implantation, Intraocular
  • Lenses, Intraocular / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Phacoemulsification
  • Prosthesis Failure*
  • Silicone Elastomers / adverse effects*
  • Silicone Elastomers / chemistry
  • Vitreous Body / pathology*


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Silicone Elastomers
  • Durapatite