Purpose: To determine the effect of duration of macular detachment (DMD) on visual acuity (VA) in patients with macula-off rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (RD).
Design: Retrospective observational case series.
Participants: Two hundred two consecutive patients (202 eyes) with primary uncomplicated macula-off RD, preoperative VA of 10/100 or worse, a precise history of when macular function was lost, successful reattachment surgery, and a minimal follow-up of 3 months.
Intervention: All RDs were repaired with a primary scleral buckling procedure performed by 3 vitreoretinal surgeons.
Main outcome measure: Visual acuity (best corrected and 3, 6, and 12 months postoperatively).
Results: Considering all eyes, the cumulative mean of the best-corrected postoperative VA (logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution [logMAR]) as a function of DMD shows a rapid worsening when DMD exceeds 6 days. Eyes were divided into 3 groups, corresponding to the DMD intervals immediate (within 10 days), delayed (11 days-6 weeks), and late (>6 weeks). Mean postoperative VAs (in logMAR) were 0.35+/-0.31 (between 20/40 and 20/50 Snellen equivalent) in eyes with DMD up to 10 days, 0.48+/-0.26 (20/60 Snellen equivalent) in the delayed group, and 0.86+/-0.30 (8/60 Snellen equivalent) in eyes with DMD longer than 6 weeks.
Conclusions: The cumulative mean of the best-corrected postoperative VA (logMAR) as a function of DMD shows a rapid worsening when DMD exceeds 6 days. Our results indicate that the scleral buckling procedure should be done preferably within a 7-day DMD.