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Identification of retinal breaks using subretinal trypan blue injection.

Ophthalmology 2007 March
PURPOSE: To describe the use of subretinal trypan blue to identify retinal breaks during vitrectomy for rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (RD).

DESIGN: Interventional case series.

PARTICIPANTS: Five patients with RD in whom no retinal break could be identified by internal search with scleral indentation.

METHODS: Trypan blue 0.15% was injected transretinally into the subretinal space using a 41-gauge cannula designed for macular translocation surgery. Perfluorocarbon heavy liquid was then injected into the vitreous cavity and the eye was rotated such that trypan blue was vented out of the break. The plume of trypan blue was used to identify retinal breaks, or in some cases staining of the break facilitated break detection. Subretinal fluid was then drained through the break or a drainage retinotomy and surgery was completed using standard techniques.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Identification of previously unseen retinal breaks.

RESULTS: This technique successfully identified a retinal break in 4 out of 5 patients. After absorption of the gas tamponade all retinas remained attached with a median visual acuity of 6/12.

CONCLUSION: Failure to identify a retinal break during RD surgery is a well-recognized clinical challenge that may adversely affect outcome. In this setting, chromophore-assisted retinal break detection may be a useful surgical technique.

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