Longterm follow-up of pars plana vitrectomy for vitreous floaters: complications, outcomes and patient satisfaction

Acta Ophthalmol. 2011 Mar;89(2):159-65. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-3768.2009.01682.x.


Purpose: Floaters caused by degenerative or postoperative changes in the vitreous can interfere with all aspects of visual functioning. The aim of this study is to report the longterm outcome of pars plana vitrectomy (PPV) for persistent vitreous opacities.

Methods: In a retrospective, non-randomized, interventional case study we reviewed all cases of vitreous floaters that were vitrectomized at our department between 1997 and 2006. Patient complaints and satisfaction were assessed by a questionnaire administered at the end of follow-up.

Results: Seventy-three consecutive cases were included (61 patients). Mean Snellen best corrected visual acuity (BCVA) before surgery was 0.81. Overall, 85% of patients complained of severe or very severe difficulty caused by floaters. A total of 42% of eyes were pseudophakic, four of which were operated with combined PPV and phacoemulsification. Mean follow-up time was 37 months. Of the phakic eyes, 60% were operated for cataract during follow-up. One retinal detachment (RD) occurred immediately postoperatively (1.3%) and another four eyes developed RD during longterm follow-up 24-44 months after PPV (5.5% of cases). Postoperative BCVA remained mostly unchanged. Overall, 88% of patients were satisfied with the results of the operation.

Conclusions: Some patients make considerable complaints as a result of vitreous opacities and their distress does not correlate with visual acuity. Vitrectomy is a safe and effective procedure with which to help these patients. Patients should be informed about the risk of cataract progression, unexpected inflammatory reaction and an increased risk for RD several years after PPV (5.5%).

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Eye Diseases / physiopathology
  • Eye Diseases / surgery*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lasers, Solid-State / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Phacoemulsification
  • Postoperative Complications*
  • Pseudophakia / physiopathology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vitrectomy*
  • Vitreous Body / surgery*