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Surv Ophthalmol. 2013 Nov-Dec;58(6):505-12. doi: 10.1016/j.survophthal.2012.11.001.

Ocular decompression retinopathy: a review.

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Department of Ophthalmology, The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, New York, New York, and New York Medical College, Valhalla, New York; Edward Harkness Eye Institute, Columbia University, New York, New York, and Vitreous Retina Macula Consultants of New York, New York, New York.


Ocular decompression retinopathy (ODR) presents as retinal hemorrhages following acute lowering of the intraocular pressure (IOP). We review 32 articles published from 1992 to 2011 and address the pathogenesis, clinical features, management, and outcomes of ODR. ODR is defined as a multifocal hemorrhagic retinopathy that results from acute lowering of IOP and is not explained by another process. Hemorrhages occur in all retinal layers, and most patients are asymptomatic. The mean drop in IOP in ODR is 33.2 ± 15.8 mm Hg (range, 4-57 mm Hg). Eighty-two percent are diagnosed by the first postoperative day, all within 2 weeks. ODR resolved in a mean of 13 ± 12.4 weeks (range, 2-72 weeks). Vitrectomy was required for vitreous and subhyaloid hemorrhage in 14% of cases. Visual outcomes are generally good, with 85% of eyes returning to baseline vision. Although ODR infrequently results in significant ocular morbidity, gradual reduction in IOP might prevent this complication.


decompression; hemorrhage; intraocular pressure; retina; retinopathy

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