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Eur J Ophthalmol. 2005 Jan-Feb;15(1):109-17.

Macula off retinal detachments. How long can they wait before it is too late?

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Birmingham and Midland Eye Centre, Birmingham.



To determine the association between the duration of macula off detachment and the visual outcome following corrective surgery.


Retrospective review of the medical records of patients who underwent surgery for macula off detachment over a 5 year period (April 1994- March 1999).


There were 104 patients in the study. Patients with macula off detachments wait a mean of 2.6 weeks (+/-0.3 SE mean) before presentation and 1.8 weeks (+/-0.2 SE of mean) thereafter before surgery. The mean duration of detachment prior to surgical repair was 4.2 weeks (+/-0.3 SE mean). 78% of patients achieved a postoperative improvement in visual acuity. 36.5% achieved functional visual success of 6/12 at 3 months, which increased to 51% at final discharge. There was no significant difference in visual outcomes for patient undergoing internal vs external procedures (p=0.188). The preoperative visual acuity was the most significant predictor of post operative visual acuity (p<0.0005). Less than 40% of macula off detachments of > or =6 weeks duration will achieve a vision of 6/12 or better compared with 68.2% of patients with macula off detachments of < or =1 week.


The best mean postoperative vision (LogMAR 0.35) was seen in patients with detachment of <1 week duration. Patients <60 years are more likely to achieve visual improvement despite the duration of the detachment. Macula off detachments of >6 weeks duration have a significantly poor postoperative visual prognosis. Awareness of this visual prognosis can assist in planning the timing of surgery to ensure an acceptable result.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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