Cosmetic facial fillers and severe vision loss

JAMA Ophthalmol. 2014 May;132(5):637-9. doi: 10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2014.498.


Importance: Dermal injection of cosmetic fillers can lead to irreversible blindness when injected in the forehead, and this possible adverse effect is not typically mentioned to patients.

Observations: Vision loss from central retinal artery occlusion occurring, after cosmetic facial enhancement, was irreversible in 3 patients. However, 1 patient had a small amount of recovery with aggressive therapy.

Conclusions and relevance: Cosmetic facial fillers are not approved for use in the forehead, but off-label use for enhancement in this region is common. To our knowledge, there have been no prior reports of blindness caused by filler injected into the forehead. We present findings of central retinal artery occlusion due to fillers in 3 patients shortly after their cosmetic procedures. The filler presumably enters the central retinal artery via the rich external-internal carotid anastomoses and becomes embedded in the retinal tissues, potentially leading to irreversible and severe vision loss. Physicians performing cosmetic enhancement procedures involving facial fillers need to be aware of this potential complication and should include significant vision loss as a possible rare complication.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biocompatible Materials / administration & dosage
  • Biocompatible Materials / adverse effects*
  • Blindness / chemically induced*
  • Blindness / diagnosis
  • Collagen / administration & dosage
  • Collagen / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Forehead
  • Fundus Oculi
  • Humans
  • Hyaluronic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Hyaluronic Acid / adverse effects*
  • Injections / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymethyl Methacrylate / administration & dosage
  • Polymethyl Methacrylate / adverse effects*
  • Rejuvenation
  • Viscosupplements / administration & dosage
  • Viscosupplements / adverse effects
  • Visual Acuity


  • ArteFill
  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Viscosupplements
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Collagen
  • Polymethyl Methacrylate