Silicone oil adhesion to intraocular lenses: an experimental study comparing various biomaterials

J Cataract Refract Surg. 1997 May;23(4):536-44. doi: 10.1016/s0886-3350(97)80210-6.


Purpose: To perform an in vitro experimental study comparing the degree of adherence of silicone oil to various rigid and foldable intraocular lens (IOL) designs and to the human lens capsule.

Setting: Center for Research on Ocular Therapeutics and Biodevices, Department of Ophthalmology, Storm Eye Institute, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, USA.

Methods: Seven IOL styles comprising various biomaterials were studied: fluorine-treated (Fluorlens), heparin-surface-modified (HSM), hydrogel, Memory-Lens, Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), soft acrylic, and silicone lenses; the human crystalline lens was also studied. Each lens was immersed in silicone oil for 12 hours, than photographed, studied by scanning electron microscopy (except the crystalline lens), and subjected to computer-generated image analysis to determine the silicone oil coverage.

Results: Silicone oil coverage of dry silicone lenses was 100% and of lenses immersed in normal saline, 82.5%. The least coverage was on the heparin-surface-modified lens (mean score 9.4%). Coverage of the other four lenses ranged from approximately 15.1% to 33.7%. Mean coverage of the human lens capsule was 10.9%.

Conclusion: Although a silicone IOL shows maximal adherence to silicone oil, other lens biomaterials are not immune to this complication. Silicone oil coverage was related to the dispersive energy component of the surface charge of the IOL biomaterial. Low dispersive energy materials had less silicone oil coverage, while those with higher dispersive energy had more oil coverage.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adhesiveness
  • Biocompatible Materials*
  • Equipment Design
  • Heparin
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Lens, Crystalline
  • Lenses, Intraocular*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Photography
  • Silicone Oils*
  • Silicones


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Silicone Oils
  • Silicones
  • Heparin