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Avoiding and Treating Blindness From Fillers

A Review of the World Literature

Beleznay, Katie MD, FRCPC, FAAD*; Carruthers, Jean D. A. MD, FRCSC, FRC (OPHTH), FASOPRS; Humphrey, Shannon MD, FRCPC, FAAD*; Jones, Derek MD‡,§

doi: 10.1097/DSS.0000000000000486
Review Article

BACKGROUND As the popularity of soft tissue fillers increases, so do the reports of adverse events. The most serious complications are vascular in nature and include blindness.

OBJECTIVE To review the cases of blindness after filler injection, to highlight key aspects of the vascular anatomy, and to discuss prevention and management strategies.

METHODS A literature review was performed to identify all the cases of vision changes from filler in the world literature.

RESULTS Ninety-eight cases of vision changes from filler were identified. The sites that were high risk for complications were the glabella (38.8%), nasal region (25.5%), nasolabial fold (13.3%), and forehead (12.2%). Autologous fat (47.9%) was the most common filler type to cause this complication, followed by hyaluronic acid (23.5%). The most common symptoms were immediate vision loss and pain. Most cases of vision loss did not recover. Central nervous system complications were seen in 23.5% of the cases. No treatments were found to be consistently successful in treating blindness.

CONCLUSION Although the risk of blindness from fillers is rare, it is critical for injecting physicians to have a firm knowledge of the vascular anatomy and to understand key prevention and management strategies.

Departments of *Dermatology and Skin Science, and

Ophthalmology and Visual Science, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada;

Skin Care and Laser Physicians of Beverly Hills;

§Division of Dermatology, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Katie Beleznay, MD, FRCPC, FAAD, Carruthers and Humphrey Cosmetic Medicine, Suite 820-943 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC V5Z 4E1, Canada, or e-mail:

The authors have indicated no significant interest with commercial supporters.

© 2015 by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, Inc. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.
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