Purpose: To determine the natural history of asymptomatic, clinical rhegmatogenous retinal detachment.
Design: Single observer, prospective, consecutive, observational case series.
Methods: Consecutive patients were included who were referred to the author's clinical practice with rhegmatogenous retinal detachment extending greater than two disk-diameters posterior to the equator. Patients whose eye had an intraocular procedure within the past year or who had a history of symptomatic retinal detachment in the fellow eye were excluded. Eighteen eyes of 16 patients were followed for an average of 46 months. The main outcome measure was progression of asymptomatic retinal detachment to symptomatic retinal detachment.
Results: None of the 18 asymptomatic, clinical, rhegmatogenous retinal detachments became symptomatic. The posterior margin of one retinal detachment slightly progressed 4 months into the study and then stabilized for 4 years and remained asymptomatic.
Conclusions: Asymptomatic, clinical, rhegmatogenous retinal detachments can probably be safely observed for many years.