Refractile Superficial Retinal Crystals and Chronic Retinal Detachment: Case Report

BMC Ophthalmol. 2006 Jan 13;6:3. doi: 10.1186/1471-2415-6-3.


Background: Few previous reports have described the presence of retinal refractile opacities at the macular area in patients presenting with longstanding peripheral retinal detachment. The exact nature of these opacities is unknown.

Case presentation: Two patients were referred with an abnormal appearance of refractile opacities in the macular area noted during routine examination. Both were found to have longstanding peripheral retinal detachments. Subretinal fluid analysis of one patient revealed the presence of multiple birefringent crystals. We hypothesise that these crystals are the origin of the refractile macular opacities noted.

Conclusion: This report describes the rare presentation of asymptomatic peripheral retinal detachment by the detection of refractile macular opacities on routine examination. It highlights the importance of meticulous peripheral retinal examination in these cases. The article also describes the findings of the subretinal fluid analysis and discusses the possible hypothesis behind their appearance.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chronic Disease
  • Crystallization
  • Fundus Oculi
  • Humans
  • Macula Lutea / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retinal Detachment / complications*
  • Retinal Detachment / diagnosis
  • Retinal Detachment / metabolism*
  • Retinal Diseases / complications*
  • Retinal Diseases / diagnosis
  • Retinal Diseases / metabolism*
  • Scattering, Radiation
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence