Silicone Oil Protects Vision During Eye Cancer Radiation

Patients treating tumors of the eye are faced with an unenviable dilemma. They are aware that the strategy of “killing” deadly tumor with radiation can consequently end with a vision loss….


Scientists at the University of California Los Angeles found that silicone oil protects the eye and vision of patients who have to undergo a radiation therapy because of a tumor.


“Loss of sight is a devastating side effect of radiation. Until recently, doctors were focused on killing the tumor, while the loss of sight was considered secondary. Our results show that silicone oil provides a secure means to protect the patient’s vision during the radiation,” said Dr Tara McCannel, assistant professor of ophthalmology at the University of Los Angeles.


Ocular melanoma develops in the pigmented cells of the retina, and represents the most common eye tumor in adults. Cause of its creation is still unknown.

Damage to the macula caused by radiation weakens the blood vessels that nourish the eye, causing bleeding and destroying circulation. Even when radiation successfully destroys the tumor, the structures of the eye are still very fragile and prone to atrophy, which can lead to vision loss.

“If patients survive cancer, more than half of them will suffer a loss of vision in the treated eye within six months to three years after treatment. The risk of blindness increases over time,” said McCannel.


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