Treatment of retinal tears and lattice degenerations in fellow eyes in high risk patients suffering retinal detachment: a prospective study

L Mastropasqua, P Carpineto, M Ciancaglini, G Falconio, P E Gallenga
British Journal of Ophthalmology 1999, 83 (9): 1046-9

BACKGROUND/AIMS: Fellow eye prophylaxis for retinal detachment (RD) is still a controversial issue since opinions are not unanimous regarding the kind of lesions to be treated or the method of treatment. This prospective clinical study aimed to follow the course of vitreoretinal conditions in 150 high risk fellow eyes.

METHODS: 150 consecutive patients with unilateral rhegmatogenous RD were included in this study. Inclusion criteria were good explorability of fellow eye retinal periphery and one of the following conditions in the fellow eye-aphakia, pseudophakia with capsulotomy, high myopia (>-6D), contralateral eye to a giant retinal tear. Prophylactic treatment (photocoagulation or scleral buckling) was performed in the presence of retinal tears and lattice degenerations. The state of the vitreous body was determined at the beginning of the study and at the end, when RD occurred.

RESULTS: Follow up ranged from 36 to 132 months. 95 fellow eyes were subjected to laser treatment; five eyes underwent prophylactic surgical treatment. Initially, in the treated group posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) was present in 100 eyes (100% of cases), but as a complete PVD only in 42 of them (42%). 10 eyes in the treated group developed RD during the follow up period. In five of these cases the partial PVD had progressed and a retinal tear in a previously healthy area was the cause of the retinal detachment. In the other five eyes RD apparently developed from previously treated lesions. Progression of PVD was evident in four out of these five eyes. The untreated eyes had no visible degenerative lesions. During follow up eight eyes developed RD. These eyes had no PVD at the beginning of the study, but showed a partial PVD at the time of the diagnosis of RD.

CONCLUSION: Fellow eyes with pre-existing retinal tears and PVDs can go on to retinal detachment in spite of laser prophylactic treatment. When PVD is not detectable or a partial PVD is present, the progression of posterior vitreous separation can account for retinal tears and RDs arising in formerly healthy areas.

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