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Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2013 May;251(5):1373-82. doi: 10.1007/s00417-012-2205-3. Epub 2012 Dec 19.

Pars plana vitrectomy for disturbing primary vitreous floaters: clinical outcome and patient satisfaction.

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Institute of Ophthalmology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, PO Box 9101, 6500 HB, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.



Primary vitreous floaters can be highly bothersome in some patients. In the case of persistently bothersome floaters, pars plana vitrectomy may be the most effective treatment. The aim of this study is to evaluate the incidence of complications, and patient satisfaction, after pars plana vitrectomy for disabling primary vitreous opacities.


We included a total of 110 eyes that underwent pars plana vitrectomy between February 1998 and August 2010. Fifty-seven eyes (51.8%) underwent 20-gauge vitrectomy, whereas 53 eyes (48.2%) underwent 23-gauge vitrectomy. In a retrospective manner, we assessed intraoperative and postoperative complications. There was a considerable range of time between surgery and questionnaire (range: 4-136 months). Patient satisfaction was assessed by a questionnaire based on a modified NEI VFQ-25 questionnaire.


A retinal detachment occurred in 10.9% of cases, and the incidence did not differ significantly between the 20-gauge and 23-gauge vitrectomy groups. In 4.5% of the eyes, a retinal detachment developed within the first 3 months, and 6.4% occurred later in the postoperative period. Cystoid macular edema occurred in 5.5%, and an epiretinal membrane was seen postoperatively in 3.6% of cases. Development of glaucoma requiring glaucoma surgery, a macular hole, and postoperative scotoma, each occurred in 0.9% of cases. No cases of endophthalmitis occurred. Eighty-five percent of patients were satisfied or very satisfied with the results of the vitrectomy. Eighty-four percent of all patients were completely cured from their troublesome vitreous floaters, and an additional 9.3% of patients were less troubled by vitreous floaters. Ten patients (9.3%) were dissatisfied, and six of these patients (5.6%) had a serious complication that resulted in permanent visual loss.


Pars plana vitrectomy is an effective approach to treat primary vitreous floaters, resulting in a high rate of patient satisfaction. Postoperative complications may be more frequent than previously reported, so patients should be well-informed about the complication rate before reaching informed consent about this surgical intervention. Additional preventive measures should be considered to reduce this complication rate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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