FlowCam Reveals Silicone Oil Droplets and Other Particulates in Intravitreal Injections (IVIs)
Silicone oil has long been used in the pharmaceutical industry as a lubricant for syringes. It serves to reduce the force necessary to depress the plunger, and can make procedures more comfortable and safer for the doctor and patient as it allows the needle to slide more easily through the eye wall.
A recent paper produced by the University of Colorado Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology compared different syringe and needle samples from the same brand and lot. They discovered great variability in the numbers of particles released. The concentration, size distribution, and morphology of the micro-sized particles were characterized using the FlowCam.
The morphologic considerations regarding particles released from needles are similar to those regarding particles released from syringes: circular images are consistently seen with silicone oil. Other particles such as fibres and plastic were also observed in the images of the samples.
Ophthalmologists who perform IVIs should be aware of the wide variability in particles from syringes and needles due to the potential clinical implications of silicone oil and other particles injected into the vitreous of their patients. It was determined that better control is needed in the siliconization process and in managing particle loads from these devices, even the silicone-free ones, in order to provide better patient safety.