Beauty is pain, but nobody expects to go for a traditionally non-invasive procedure and come out of it losing one of their senses.

In an unfortunate series of events, a woman in Singapore has gone blind upon undergoing a procedure that temporarily reduces wrinkles and folds in the skin. Here’s everything you need to know about it.

The patient experienced sudden blindness following the injection

According to various sources, a young and married woman had gone to a clinic located at Redhill to get a procedure done, and was injected with a dermal filler branded as AestheFill.

Right after the injection, she reportedly experienced sudden blindness that affected her in both eyes. Parvus, the company responsible for distributing Derma Fillers in Singapore, subsequently made a report to the HSA and are “working diligently to understand the circumstances around [the incident].”

Ever since AestheFill was approved by the HSA on 1 October 2021, it has been used in various aesthetic clinics by certified healthcare professionals.

An HSA spokesman released a statement on 29 July 2023, stating “Locally, this is the first adverse event report for blindness resulting from dermal fillers.”

They also added that they will be taking measures to get to the root of the issue. “Should there be any product or batch-related issues, HSA will take the necessary actions such as to recall the affected product and/or require the company to rectify the issues,” the spokesperson said, according to a report on The Straits Times.

While HSA officers have also stated that there has been no noticeable rise in reports on adverse health outcomes from dermal fillers in Singapore, some similar cases have been reported overseas in the past few years.

For instance, an online medical journal called BMC Ophthalmology, recorded an incident involving a 23-year-old lady in Taiwan who also suffered from sudden blindness in one eye upon receiving an AestheFill Injection. Similarly, there were cases in Australia reported in 2018, whereby individuals also reported losing their vision due to dermal filler injections.

An Australian Investigative show called Four Corners reported in 2018 that about 100 people worldwide had reportedly gone blind from filler injections.

What caused the blindness?

It’s worth noting that HSA classifies dermal fillers as Class D medical services, meaning that they come with the highest risks. When administering such injections, practitioners run the risk of causing a blood vessel blockage in their clients.

So while batch-related defect could’ve caused the unfortunate incident, the application procedure itself may have also been to blame.

When the filler gets incorrectly injected into blood vessels, it can directly impact the structures around and beyond the blockage. Think of it as a dam being constructed along a river — it obstructs the natural flow of water.

Our face also houses some of our body’s most important arteries, such as the supratrochlear, dorsal nasal, and supraorbital arteries. If a practitioner injects the dermal filler into one of these vessels, the filler may travel along the artery, restricting blood flow to the eye, thus causing blindness.

Other common complications of such procedures include redness, swelling, bumps under the skin (granulomas or nodules), skin paling, and skin blanching.

“Consumers are advised to discuss with their clinician about the risks and suitability of the dermal fillers before going for the procedure,” said the HSA spokesperson.

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