Blindness caused by cosmetic filler injection: a review of cause and therapy

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2014 Dec;134(6):1197-1201. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000000754.


Vascular occlusion causing blindness is a rare yet greatly feared complication of the use of facial aesthetic fillers. The authors performed a review of the aesthetic literature to ascertain the reported cases of blindness and the literature reporting variations in the vascular anatomy of the human face. The authors suggest a small but potentially helpful addition to the accepted management of the acute case. Cases of blindness, mostly irreversible, from aesthetic filler injections have been reported from Asia, Europe, and North America. Autologous fat appears to be the most frequent filler causing blindness. Some cases of partial visual recovery have been reported with hyaluronic acid and calcium hydroxylapatite fillers. The sudden profusion of new medical and nonmedical aesthetic filler injectors raises a new cause for alarm about patient safety. The published reports in the medical literature are made by experienced aesthetic surgeons and thus the actual incidence may be even higher. Also, newer injectors may not be aware of the variations in the pattern of facial vascular arborization. The authors present a summary of the relevant literature to date and a suggested helpful addition to the protocols for urgent management.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biocompatible Materials / administration & dosage
  • Biocompatible Materials / adverse effects*
  • Blindness / drug therapy
  • Blindness / etiology*
  • Blindness / prevention & control
  • Cosmetic Techniques / adverse effects*
  • Durapatite / administration & dosage
  • Durapatite / adverse effects
  • Embolism / chemically induced*
  • Embolism / complications
  • Humans
  • Hyaluronic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Hyaluronic Acid / adverse effects*
  • Hyaluronoglucosaminidase / therapeutic use
  • Injections, Intradermal
  • Subcutaneous Fat / transplantation*
  • Tissue Transplantation / adverse effects*


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Durapatite
  • Hyaluronoglucosaminidase