Calcification of different designs of silicone intraocular lenses in eyes with asteroid hyalosis

Ophthalmology. 2010 Aug;117(8):1486-92. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2009.12.032.


Purpose: To describe the association between calcification of older and newer designs of silicone intraocular lenses (IOLs) and asteroid hyalosis.

Design: Case series with clinicopathologic correlation.

Participants: Sixteen silicone IOLs explanted because of decreased visual acuity associated with opacifying deposits on the posterior optic surface.

Methods: All 16 lenses underwent gross and light microscopic analyses. Selected lenses underwent alizarin red staining or scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy for elemental composition. Clinical data in each case were obtained by a questionnaire sent to the explanting surgeons. Clinical data in relation to 111 hydrophilic acrylic lenses explanted because of calcification also were assessed for comparison.

Main outcome measures: Deposit morphologic features and location were evaluated under gross and light microscopy. The calcified nature of the deposits was assessed by histochemical staining and surface analyses. Clinical data obtained included age at IOL implantation, gender, implantation and explantation dates, as well as history of neodymium:yttrium-aluminum-garnet laser treatment. The presence of asteroid hyalosis in the affected eye was investigated for the explanted silicone and hydrophilic acrylic lenses.

Results: The 16 lenses were of 8 designs manufactured from different silicone materials, which were explanted 9.21+/-3.66 years after implantation. Neodymium:yttrium-aluminum-garnet laser applications performed in 12 cases partially removed deposits from the lens, followed by a gradual increase in their density after the procedures. The presence of asteroid hyalosis was confirmed in 13 cases; no notes regarding this condition were found in patient charts in the other 3 cases. The deposits were only on the posterior optic surface of the silicone lenses and were composed of calcium and phosphate. A history of asteroid hyalosis was not found in relation to any of the 111 cases of postoperative calcification of hydrophilic acrylic lenses.

Conclusions: Including this current series, there are 22 cases of calcification of silicone lenses involving 8 designs manufactured from different silicone materials described in the literature. The presence of asteroid hyalosis was confirmed in 86.4% of cases. These findings may be added to the list of pros and cons surgeons consider when selecting or recommending an IOL.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acrylic Resins / chemistry
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Calcinosis / diagnosis*
  • Calcium / analysis
  • Device Removal
  • Eye Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lenses, Intraocular*
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Middle Aged
  • Phosphates / analysis
  • Prosthesis Design
  • Prosthesis Failure
  • Silicon / analysis
  • Silicone Elastomers*
  • Sodium / analysis
  • Spectrometry, X-Ray Emission
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Visual Acuity / physiology
  • Vitreous Body / pathology*


  • Acrylic Resins
  • Phosphates
  • Silicone Elastomers
  • Sodium
  • Calcium
  • Silicon