The treatment of severe retinal detachment and of massive vitreous retraction by injection of silicone oil into the vitreous cavity has become a routine surgical procedure in many ophthalmological centers. The early work of Cibis, et al. (1962) has been convincingly brought into new light by Scott (1975, 1977), who combined the injection method with vitrectomy procedures. A more recent study by Leaves, et al. (1979) showed the complications following the silicone oil treatment. They concluded that these complications did in general not degrade the improvement in visual function. Among the complications two groups, i.e. the cataract cases and the keratopathy, are preventing adequate inspection of the vitreous cavity and it has become evident that echography may be very useful in the assessment of the condition of the retina (cf. Poujol & Massin, 1979). The specific problems arising from the strongly deviating acoustic properties of silicone oil have been partly investigated by these authors. In the present study we will establish the acoustic parameters more accurately and we will qualitatively and quantitatively try to explain the peculiar echographic findings in a silicone oil ‘vitreous’.

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