BACKGROUND: Retinal detachment associated with atopic dermatitis, one of the most common forms of dermatitis in Japan, has markedly increased in Japan in the past 10 years. To clarify pathogenic mechanisms of retinal detachment in such cases, we retrospectively studied clinical characteristics of retinal detachment associated with atopic dermatitis. METHODS: We examined the records of 80 patients (89 eyes) who had retinal detachment associated with atopic dermatitis. The patients were classified into three groups according to lens status: group A, eyes with clear lenses (40 eyes); group B, eyes with cataract (38 eyes), and group C, aphakic or pseudophakic eyes (11 eyes). RESULTS: No significant differences were noted in the ratio of males to females, age distribution, refractive error, or characteristic of retinal detachment among the three groups. The types of retinal breaks, however, were different in eyes with and without lens changes. While atrophic holes were dominant in group A, retinal dialysis was mainly seen in groups B and C. CONCLUSION: These findings suggested that anterior vitreoretinal traction may play an important role in the pathogenesis of retinal breaks in eyes with atopic cataract and that the same pathological process may affect the formation of cataract and tractional retinal breaks in patients with atopic dermatitis.
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