The effect of longstanding silicone oil on retina choroid and optic nerve in eyes with retinal detachment: an optical coherence tomography study

BMC Ophthalmol. 2022 Jan 5;22(1):11. doi: 10.1186/s12886-021-02239-0.


Background: The study aims to evaluate peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer thickness (RNFL-T), central macular thickness (MT), choroidal thickness (CT), and thickness of each retinal layer after automatic segmentation in patients who underwent retinal detachment (RD) repair with longstanding silicone oil tamponade.

Methods: We enrolled 33 patients who underwent complicated primary rhegmatogenous RD surgery and followed up with a long-term silicone tamponade were included in this retrospective comparative (case-control) study. RNFL-T, CT, and thickness of each retinal layer after automatic segmentation analysis were measured after the longstanding silicone removal surgery.

Results: The mean silicone oil removal time was 15.1 ± 15.2 (7-70) months. The overall average thickness of the RNFL was 90.7 ± 13.6 μm in the operated eyes and 118.3 ± 35.6 μm in the sound eyes, with a statistically significant difference. The overall average central MT was 186.3 ± 57.7 μm and was significantly lower in the operated eyes than in the sound eyes. Inner retinal layers of the study group showed a significant thinning in the nerve fiber layer, ganglion cell layer, inner plexiform layer, and inner nuclear layer as compared to that of the sound eyes. The subfoveal CT was 213.7 ± 86.6 μm in the study eyes and 217.7 ± 115.5 μm in the control eyes. There was no significant difference between the study eyes and controls.

Conclusion: The effects of silicone oil on the retina remain uncertain; however, morphological results in our study have shown direct or indirect silicone oil-induced toxicity, especially in the inner retinal layers.

Keywords: Choroid; Long-term effects; Optical coherence tomography; Retinal layers; Silicone oils.

MeSH terms

  • Choroid
  • Endotamponade
  • Humans
  • Optic Nerve
  • Retina
  • Retinal Detachment* / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Silicone Oils*
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence
  • Visual Acuity
  • Vitrectomy


  • Silicone Oils