Article Text

The epidemiology of rhegmatogenous retinal detachment: geographical variation and clinical associations
  1. D Mitry1,2,
  2. D G Charteris3,
  3. B W Fleck1,
  4. H Campbell2,
  5. J Singh
  1. 1Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion, Edinburgh, UK
  2. 2Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh, UK
  3. 3Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Danny Mitry, Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion, Edinburgh EH3 9HA, UK; mitryd{at}


Aims/Background Rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (RRD) is a potentially blinding condition. Obtaining an accurate estimate of RRD incidence in the population is essential in understanding the healthcare burden related to this disorder.

Methods A systematic review of all population-based epidemiology studies of RRD published between January 1970 and January 2009 from Medline database searches was performed.

Results RRD incidence demonstrates significant geographical variation and its incidence has been reported to be between 6.3 and 17.9 per 100 000 population. For studies with a sample size >300 the median annual incidence per 100 000 population was 10.5 (IQR 8.1–13.2) and the mean proportion of bilateral RRD was 7.26%. Overall, the mean prevalence of lattice degeneration was 45.7±20.3% and myopia was 47.28±12.59%.

Conclusions Estimates of RRD incidence have varied threefold, but inclusion criteria and other design features have differed across studies making direct comparisons difficult. The overall incidence of RRD is not yet well established: more incidence studies of adequate methodology are needed to explore temporal changes in incidence. RRD incidence varies with ethnicity and is strongly associated with increasing age, myopia and certain vitreo-retinal degenerations. Due to changes in cataract surgery trends, the proportion of pseudophakic RRD presenting to specialised centres appears to be increasing.

  • Epidemiology
  • retinal detachment
  • incidence
  • retina
  • public health
  • epidemiology

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Supplementary materials


  • Funding Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh.

  • Competing interests None.

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