Fans of cosmetic fillers are being warned that the injections could leave them blind.
There's been a sharp rise in the number of patients suffering complications after having botched fillers, prompting calls for better regulation, Professor Ash Mosahebi told The Sun Online.
The consultant plastic surgeon at the Royal Free Hospital in London, said: "A filler is like injecting a paste.
"And if that paste somehow goes into the blood vessel that connects to the retina at the back of the eye – which is where you see the world through – it can lead to blindness.
"It is unusual, uncommon and unlucky, but if it is not done carefully it can happen."
Prof Mosahebi, who has 20 years of experience in his field, admitted he prefers not to inject fillers around the eye due to the potential risks involved.
And he warned fillers can be bought over the counter and injected by unqualified practitioners or even people at home.
He added: "I have seen horrendous infections in the face where patients have ended up in [intensive care] with a life-threatening infection.
"If it is not done in a proper way, in a clean environment, it causes infection.
"I haven't, thankfully, seen a case [where someone has lost their sight] but I have read about it.
"We are seeing complications more and more because [fillers] are getting more popular."
Dermal fillers are injections used to fill out wrinkles and to plump up the volume of the lips and cheeks.
They contain a variety of ingredients such as collagen and hyaluronic acid, a substance that occurs naturally in humans to help keep certain body parts such as they eyes and skin hydrated.
These fillers can have a temporary or permanent effect.
A new study from South Korea, published this week, examined the cases of nine patients around the world who suffered vision loss after having fillers injected.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, said: “All nine patients were female, ranging in age from 26 to 45 years and in all cases hyaluronic acid fillers were injected by doctors, including board-certified plastic surgeons and dermatologists.
“Improvement of visual acuity [clarity] in patients with vascular occlusion [blood clots] after filler injection is extremely rare, and there has been no total recovery of vision after initial injury.”
Last year the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons’ (BAAPS) revealed 90 per cent of plastic surgeons recorded a rise in the number of patients being dangerously misinformed about cosmetic surgery.
The survey of the BAAPS council also found that two in five surgeons have seen problems with unregulated dermal fillers over the last three years.
But they believe the problems, which include swelling, infection and skin irritation could be avoided if such treatments were properly regulated.
BAAPS has led calls for all dermal fillers to be classified as prescription-only medicine that could only be injected by a registered doctor.
Mum-of-two Mary Catchpole, 46, decided to get hyaluronic acid cosmetic fillers between her eyebrows, around her eyes and in her cheeks two weeks before her wedding in August 2011.
Mary, from Romford in Essex, spent £600 hoping it would boost her looks ahead of her special day.
But what happened afterwards was a far cry from a fairytale wedding her and husband Chris had hoped for.
The day after having the injections Mary experienced a severe burning and tingling sensation that started between her eyebrows and quickly spread down to her mouth and across her cheeks.
She said: “I wasn’t told anything about severe reactions, all I was told was about mild redness and swelling around the injection site.
“I was told that would wear off in about seven days and the effects would last six to nine months and then I could do it again if I wanted to.
“But there was nothing in there about risk of blindness.
“If I had looked up bad side effects before I would never have got it done.”
Over the next few weeks Mary became increasingly unwell, suffering problems with her hearing and vision.
She also experienced palpitations, headaches, hair loss, vomiting and diarrhoea which she claims caused her to lose more than four stone.
Mary was so unwell she said has no recollection of her wedding day.
In September 2011, after visiting her GP several times, Mary was admitted to King George Hospital in London for nine days.
She said: “They thought I was having a stroke because I was describing numbness and tingling and paralysis in my face.
“They kept me there and did an MRI and X-ray and they couldn’t find any reason for it.”
She was sent home but her symptoms persisted and she visited the A&E numerous times desperate for answers.
In April 2012 she was admitted to the national Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London for three-and-a-half weeks, where tests revealed she had nerve damage to her face, which was causing the pain and tingling.
Mary told The Sun Online doctors told her there was nothing they could do to reverse the nerve damage.
She said she was given medication to manage the pain.
BETTER REGULATION IS VITAL FOR CRACKDOWN
EXPERIENCED consultant plastic surgeon, James McDiarmid, 49, has previously told The Sun Online he regards the UK aesthetic industry as one of the least regulated in the world.
He said: "My opinion and that of my colleagues who are accredited specialist plastic surgeons and members of The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) is that we regard the whole aesthetic industry as being completely unregulated and it's something that people with minimal training and no specialist background see as a get rich quick scheme.
"In the UK I think we probably have the least regulated aesthetic industry and I don't know why that is.
"Even in South America and Brazil where you would expect it to be less ethical and less organised, only doctors can do these treatments.
"In France only specialist doctors can do these treatments, but in the UK any Tom, Dick or Harry that goes and pays £500 for a two-hour lunchtime course can call themselves an approved injector and start doing the treatments."
Mr McDiarmid says 'rogue' surgeons are injecting filler into people's faces with very little clue of the underlying anatomy.
"There are lots of people getting training, and I use that extremely loosely, from other people who probably ought not to be doing these treatments," he added.
"They're often putting them in places that are inadvisable, these are people who have very little clue about the underlying anatomy underneath.
"These people are not surgeons, they're a nurse, a dentist or a general practitioner for their day job, and this evening Matthew I'm going to turn into a plastic surgeon by magic and stick £5,000 worth of filler in this poor patient's face and expect it to look good."
She claims she and Chris have spent around £12,000 on her medical expenses since having the fillers.
Now, Mary has hearing loss in her left ear and tinnitus in both.
She also has vision loss in her right eye that causes flashes when she looks at bright lights, spots in her line of sight and her vision in both eyes is dimmer.
Her doctors never officially said her condition was down to the filler injections, but Mary firmly believes they are to blame as her symptoms started the day after getting them done.
Mary is now writing a book about her experience and hopes to warn other women about the dangers of cosmetic fillers.
Mary added: “I’d say don’t do it, don’t even think about doing it.
“Even if you went to a registered clinic and you saw a qualified dermatologist.
“I think it is not the technique but it is more to do with the composition of the filler, you could be allergic to any one of those parts and that could set off a reaction.
“It’s just not worth it.”
A spokesman for the clinic where she had the procedure said it is registered with the Care Quality Commission and adhered to all recommendations.
They added: "The procedure was carried out by an experienced and fully qualified medical doctor, registered with the General Medical Council, and a practising member of the British College of Aesthetic Medicine (BCAM).
"Subsequent to the procedure and the patients complaint she has been examined on a timely basis on more than five occasions by qualified medical doctors, including our two medical directors, both of whom are registered with the General Medical Council and members of BCAM."
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A similar horror story happened to Carol Bryan, who was left blind in one eye after having fillers injected into her face in 2009.
She was injected with two different fillers, combined in a syringe, in an area she shouldn't have been and her face was left swollen and disfigured.
The reaction was so bad it left her blind in one eye and Carol said she contemplated taking her own life as she hid from not only her family and friends, but her own reflection in the mirror.
A desire to follow in the footsteps of the Kardahsian's and other full pouted celebs has given rise to a huge number of botched cosmetic ops, it has previously been claimed.
One legal firm has reported double the number of legal claims against back-street clinics, which are offering filler injections for as little as £50.
They say the problem is becoming more widespread due to treatments being advertised by unqualified practitioners on social media sites.
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Fans of cosmetic fillers are being warned that the injections could leave them blind.