Purpose: The preoperative and intraoperative clinical variables associated with redetachment and/or a poor visual outcome following scleral buckling (SB) surgery for rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (RRD) have mainly been studied after a short follow-up. This study aimed to analyse long-term effects by following patients for at least 6 months.
Methods: In a retrospective survey we evaluated the data of 436 eyes that underwent SB surgery. Postoperative data were collected at 3-month intervals.
Results: After a mean follow-up period of 51 months, anatomic reattachment was achieved in 76% after one SB procedure, with a final reattachment rate of 97% after additional vitreoretinal procedures. In total, 104 eyes developed redetachment during follow-up. After more than 6 and 12 months of follow-up, 32 eyes (7%) and 20 eyes (5%), respectively, developed redetachment. Multivariate regression analysis showed that recurrent redetachment and more than 7 days of visual field loss were significant predictors for a poor postoperative visual outcome at 12 months. A cumulative size of the tear of more than three disc diameters was a significant predictor of recurrent RRD.
Conclusion: Conventional SB surgery is a reliable procedure in a selected group of eyes with primary RRD. However, in eyes with a retinal tear with a cumulative size of more than three disc diameters, a primary vitrectomy should be considered. Taking into account that 7% of eyes developed redetachment after 6 months, a longer follow-up period seems necessary to evaluate the anatomical and visual outcomes after SB surgery.