Purpose: The indications for vitreoretinal (VR) surgery are increasing as equipment and techniques available improve. In order to decrease demand on limited health resources, day-case surgery would be beneficial in many cases. This study combines a retrospective and prospective arm to examine the feasibility and safety of routine day-case VR surgery.
Methods: One hundred consecutive patients (50 retrospective and 50 prospective) undergoing VR surgery within the Royal Berkshire NHS trust were included. The retrospective arm aimed to identify the frequency and type of acute ophthalmic or medical intervention during postop overnight stay and the results were used to alter management in the prospective group. The prospective group consisted of patients undergoing a mixture of overnight stay and day-case surgery. All patients in the prospective group had routine subtenon marcaine anaesthesia together with prophylactic pre-operative intravenous acetazolamide. Patients deemed fit postoperatively were offered overnight ward discharge, with obligatory next-day review.
Results: In the retrospective arm, 56% required oral nonsteroidal analgesia on the day of surgery and one patient required narcotic analgesia. Twenty-two per cent patients required intraocular pressure (IOP) control on the day of surgery and one patient required medical intervention in the form of urinary catheterisation. Nineteen patients required intervention on next-day review. In the prospective arm, 86% preferred day case and were suitable, 6% were suitable for day-case but preferred overnight stay and 8% were deemed not fit for discharge. No patient required narcotic analgesics. No patient discharged returned as a casualty overnight. Only one patient required topical beta-blocker for the control of IOP on next-day review.
Conclusions: These data suggest that many patients who are hospitalised overnight for VR surgery could be safely treated as day cases. Such a shift in the pattern of care for VR surgery could provide a significant improvement in health-care efficiency and minimise patient inconvenience.