Br J Ophthalmol 95:365-369 doi:10.1136/bjo.2009.172296
  • Clinical science
  • Original article

Temporal trends in retinal detachment incidence in Scotland between 1987 and 2006

  1. Harry Campbell2
  1. 1Department of Ophthalmology, Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion, Edinburgh, UK
  2. 2Department of Public Health Sciences, Teviot Place, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  3. 3Information Services Division of NHS National Services Scotland, Edinburgh, UK
  4. 4MRC Human Genetics Unit, Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, Crewe Road, Edinburgh, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Danny Mitry, Clinical Research Fellow, Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion, Edinburgh EH3 9HA, UK; mitryd{at}
  • Accepted 30 April 2010
  • Published Online First 7 July 2010


Aim Rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (RRD) is a common and sight-threatening condition. The reported incidence of RRD has varied considerably in published literature and few studies have examined the temporal trends in incidence rate over a long time period. Our aim is to examine the time trends of primary RRD in Scotland.

Methods We obtained linked hospital episode statistics data for all patients admitted with a primary diagnostic code of RRD in Scotland between 1987 and 2006. Using this database as an estimate of RRD incidence, we calculated the annual age- and sex-specific incidence rates of RRD in Scotland. Log-linear Poisson regression analysis was used to explore age, period and cohort trends.

Results The overall age-standardised incidence of RRD in Scotland has steadily increased from 9.36 per 100 000 (95% CI 8.19 to 10.53) in 1987 to 13.61 per 100 000 (95% CI 12.25 to 14.97) in 2006 with an average annual increase of 1.9% (p<0.001) during the 20-year period. Men have been affected more frequently than women in all age groups with a significant temporal trend towards earlier age of onset. The peak incidence of RRD in men and women is in the sixth decade of life. No significant period or recent birth cohort trend effects were found.

Conclusions The estimated incidence of RRD is within the range reported from previous population-based studies worldwide. The rise in RRD incidence between 1987 and 2006 is attributed in part to the changing demographic in Scotland. There is an increasing sex imbalance in incidence, with men being affected more frequently and at a younger age.


  • Funding Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh, Royal Blind Asylum and Scottish War Blinded.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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