Background: To evaluate a potential effect of silicone oil on flexible silicone intraocular lenses, four lenses (STAAR AA-4203) were stored in silicone oil under sterile conditions for periods between 1 month and 3 years.
Method: The edge and surface of the lenses were examined by scanning electron micrography and the findings compared with a lens of the same model which had been stored in Ringer's solution for 2 years.
Results: After 1 year of silicone oil exposure, droplets of different sizes adherent to the surface of the lens were found. These changes proceeded to a wave-like appearance of the surface after 2 and 3 years of storage, so that a continuous layer of silicone oil polymers is probably covering the intraocular lens.
Conclusion: Optical interference has to be considered a possibility if it turns out that the droplets cannot be removed during silicone oil evacuation. Consequently silicone intraocular lenses without hydrophilic preparation of the surface should not be implanted in eyes undergoing combined anterior and posterior segment surgery with silicone oil tamponade or in eyes with high risk for vitreoretinal complications.