Background: Although the presentation and treatment outcomes of retinal detachments in wealthy countries are well known, much less is known about retinal detachment in the developing world. This study reports the presentation and outcomes of 433 rhegmatogenous retinal detachments in South India.
Methods: Retrospective analysis was undertaken of all operated cases of retinal detachment in a tertiary care centre, from 1 January 2000 to 31 December 2000.
Results: Retinal detachments were treated in 433 eyes of 417 patients; 67 (16.1%) patients were children below 16 years and 60 (14.4%) patients were blind (visual acuity <6/60). The duration of symptoms was over 1 month in 192 (46.6%) eyes and, in 376 (86.8%), the macula was detached at presentation. Referral diagnosis was incorrect in 69 (22.4%) eyes. Cataract surgery was the predisposing factor in 152 (35.1%) eyes. Primary surgery included pars plana vitrectomy procedures in 235 eyes (53.9%) and scleral buckling in 197 (45.8%). The retina was re-attached with one operation in 281 eyes (71%) and with one or more operations in 333 (87%). Visual acuity of 6/60 or better was achieved in 260 (67.7%) eyes.
Conclusions: The profile of retinal detachments in a tertiary eye care centre in south India includes many paediatric cases, late presentations and macula-off detachments, commonly related to cataract surgery. Despite complex pathology, two thirds of eyes regain useful vision after one or more surgical interventions.