Plastic surgeons warn of blindness risk from cosmetic fillers

Plastic surgeons warn of blindness risk from cosmetic fillers

The Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons warns the risk of blindness from cosmetic fillers is a real but little known risk that highlights the need for the procedure to be performed by appropriately qualified health professionals.

According to a new study*, the increasing popularity of soft tissue fillers has seen a corresponding rise in reports of adverse events, among them, blindness.

Whilst rare, the risk is real with almost 100 incidents reported in the international study. In the majority of cases the loss of vision was immediate and permanent.

No treatments were found to be successful in treating the blindness.

“People need to be aware that the use of fillers and anti-wrinkle injections are essentially invasive procedures and are not risk free,” says Professor Mark Ashton, President of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons.

“As this study warns, it is critical that those performing these procedures to have ‘a firm knowledge of the vascular anatomy and to understand key prevention and management strategies.’”

The sites that were identified as high risk for complications were the glabella (the smooth part of the forehead above and between the eyebrows), the nasal region, the nasolabial fold (laugh lines running from side of nose to edge of mouth) and the forehead.

“The Australian Society of Plastic Surgeon’s priority is patient safety and we are concerned that the general public think cosmetic procedures such as injectables, fillers and lasers are not hazardous and therefore pose no risk. People need to understand that things can go wrong and they should always think over before they makeover and conduct their research on the experience and qualifications of the person undertaking the procedure and the facility in which it’s being conducted,” said Professor Ashton. 

* 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‡,§ Dermatologic Surgery: October 2015 – Volume 41 – Issue 10 – p 1097–1117

Media enquiries: Sandra Renowden 0403823218 or email

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