Purpose: To compare the anatomic and visual outcomes achieved by scleral buckling and primary vitrectomy for the repair of macula-off rhegmatogenous retinal detachment.
Methods: The records were reviewed for a consecutive series of 167 patients (167 eyes) who were initially treated with scleral buckling or pars plana vitrectomy for primary macula-off retinal detachment. Patients were treated between January 1993 and December 1996. After adjustments for preoperative characteristics, data from 102 cases (55 scleral buckle cases and 47 primary vitrectomy cases) were used for the final comparison. There had been a minimum follow-up period of 24 months.
Results: No significant differences in single-procedure reattachment incidence (91%), final success incidence (100%) and incidence of postoperative proliferative vitreoretinopathy development (4%) were observed between the two treatment groups. Preoperative visual acuity, preoperative intraocular pressure, and duration of macular detachment were the three best predictors of postoperative visual recovery in both groups. Favorable overall visual recovery was obtained postoperatively, with no significant differences between the two groups throughout the follow-up period. However, in the eyes with poor preoperative visual acuity (<0.1), ocular hypotony (intraocular pressure <7 mm Hg), or prolonged macular detachment (more than 7 days), visual recovery in the primary vitrectomy group was significantly better (P <.05) than in the scleral buckle group from the first postoperative month.
Conclusion: Both procedures achieved favorable anatomic and visual outcomes in the majority of patients with primary macula-off retinal detachment. Primary vitrectomy may be more effective than scleral buckling for achieving early visual rehabilitation in cases complicated by poor preoperative vision, ocular hypotony, and prolonged macular detachment.