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Trends in vitreoretinal surgery at a tertiary referral centre: 1987 to 1996


AIM To identify trends in vitreoretinal surgery at a tertiary referral centre from 1987 to 1996.

METHODS A retrospective study of patients who had undergone vitreoretinal surgery at St Paul’s Eye Unit over two 6 month periods in 1987 and 1996. Preoperative ocular status, surgery details, and outcome were collected. χ2 and Mann–Whitney U tests were used to analyse the data.

RESULTS The two periods under study were July to December 1987 and January to June 1996. 110 operations performed during 1987 (96 patients) and 330 operations during 1996 (289 patients) were analysed. There was a fourfold rise in the number of tertiary referrals and a sevenfold rise in the number of operations performed for conditions other than rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (RRD). Increasing indications for surgery included diabetic eye disease, macular hole, dropped nucleus, endophthalmitis, and subretinal neovascular membrane. There was a rise in the proportion of patients with RRD following cataract surgery (from 19.5% to 29.5%). For both primary repair and reoperation, vitrectomy with internal tamponade was more commonly used in 1996. The anatomical success rate for primary repair changed from 76.6% to 84.7% after one operation and from 89.1% to 94.3% following additional surgery.

CONCLUSIONS This study points to a trend towards subspecialisation and tertiary referral in vitreoretinal surgery. Vitrectomy techniques are more commonly used for the primary repair of RRD and are applied to a wider spectrum of diseases.

  • vitreoretinal surgery
  • tertiary referral
  • subspecialisation

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