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colon; Vitreous replacement by silicone oil has become increasingly popular in the treatment of severe and complicated retinal detachment. Several studies have suggested that silicone oil may be toxic to the retina or may stimulate periretinal proliferation. To better understand its effects, emulsified or nonemulsified silicone oil was injected into rabbit eyes that had undergone mechanical vitrectomy. Silicone oil was labeled with phthalocyanine blue to aid in histologic localization. Retinal changes were compared by light microscopy at 1, 4, and 12 weeks after intraocular injection. Emulsified silicone oil was found to penetrate the inner retina at 1 week and cause epiretinal membrane formation as early as 4 weeks after injection. Nonemulsified oil produced no histologic changes in the retina. No cytotoxic effects were observed in eyes treated with ether emulsified or nonemulsified silicone oil. It is concluded that emulsified silicone oil can both penetrate the retina and stimulate epiretinal membrane formation in the vitrectomized rabbit eye.

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