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Ophthalmology. 2002 Oct;109(10):1821-7.

Recurrent retinal detachment more than 1 year after reattachment.

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  • 1Cincinnati Eye Institute, Cincinnati, Ohio. Division of Ophthalmology, Lutheran General Hospital, Park Ridge, Illinois, USA.



Little information exists regarding recurrent retinal detachment after 1 or more years of complete retinal reattachment. To better understand this uncommon problem, we evaluated late recurrent retinal detachments in relation to the contemporary classification of proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR).


Retrospective consecutive noncomparative case series.


Nine patients (10 eyes) with late recurrent retinal detachment after 1 or more years of complete reattachment.


We retrospectively analyzed the clinical and operative records of one surgeon over a 9-year period to identify late recurrent retinal detachments that occurred 1 or more years after complete retinal reattachment. The study group was derived from a total of 453 consecutive cases of rhegmatogenous retinal detachment repair not associated with proliferative diabetic retinopathy, uveitis, or penetrating ocular trauma.


Late recurrent retinal detachments after 1 or more years of complete retinal reattachment.


The study group consisted of 10 eyes (2.2% of total) in nine patients. Redetachment occurred from 12 to 126 months (average, 46.8 months) after the initial detachment surgery. Late recurrent retinal detachments were associated with new retinal breaks (five eyes), reopening of old breaks (three eyes), or both (two eyes). In all, 13 open breaks were identified, nine of which were on or anterior to the scleral buckle. Eight eyes had grade C PVR, including four eyes with anterior PVR, three eyes with posterior PVR, and one eye with both anterior and posterior PVR. The retina was reattached after additional vitreoretinal surgery in eight eyes of seven patients; two patients (two eyes) declined reoperation. Visual acuity improved in seven of eight eyes after repair of the late recurrent retinal detachment. Postoperative follow-up after late recurrent detachment repair ranged from 69 to 140 months (average, 101.7 months, or 8.5 years).


Vitreous base traction seems to be an important factor in late recurrent retinal detachments occurring 1 or more years after complete retinal reattachment, and the associated PVR was probably a secondary phenomenon and not a causative factor in most cases. Reoperation for such late recurrent retinal detachments can successfully reattach the retina and improve visual acuity in most cases.

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