Asteroid hyalosis (Benson’s disease) is a benign condition
characterized by multiple-yellow-white, round, birefringent
particles composed mainly of calcium-phosphate attached to the
The incidence has been estimated to be 0.5%.
The cause of asteroid hyalosis is unknown, but it has been
associated with hyperopia, diabetes mellitus, hypertension and
Clinically the asteroid bodies remain attached to the vitreous’
collagenous framework, moving only when this network oscillates.
They appear golden under retroillumination and white under direct
illumination. This pathology is usually unilateral (75%) and found
in elderly patients over 60 years of age.
Retinography is sometimes difficult in these patients due to the
numerous flash reflections originating from the hyaloid bodies.
Fluorescein angiography allows a better visualization of the retina
in difficult cases.
In ultrasonography these vitreous bodies appear as
hypereflective deposits in the vitreous cavity and may increase the
difficulty of obtaining a reliable axial length measurement.
Asteroid hyalosis rarely affects the patient's visual acuity,
even in cases of severe vitreous involvement. In these cases
vitrectomy is indicated.
Basic and Clinical Science Course – 2011-2012 – Section 12 –
Retina and Vitreous, American Academy of Opthalmology
Bergren RL, Brown Ge. Duker JS. Prevalence and association of
asteroid hyalosis with systemic diseases. Am J Ophthalmol. 1991;111
Fawzi AA, Vo B, Kriwanek R, Ramkumar HL, et al, Asteroid
hyalosis in an autopsy population: The University of California at
Los Angeles (UCLA) experience. Arch Ophthalmol. 2005