Objective: Retinal detachment complicates the course of cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis in nearly 30% of human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients. The study goal was to evaluate laser photocoagulation in the treatment of CMV retinitis-related retinal detachments and retinal tears. Design: Nonrandomized, observational cohort study. Participants: Sixty-three patients with CMV retinitis-related retinal detachments and nine patients with peripheral retinal tears in eyes with CMV retinitis were studied. Intervention: Of the 63 eyes with retinal detachment, 23 patients were treated with demarcating laser photocoagulation, 24 patients underwent vitrectomy with silicone oil, and 16 patients were observed without treatment. All nine patients with peripheral retinal tears received laser photocoagulation. Main Outcome Measures: Time to progression of retinal detachment, final visual acuity, and need for vitrectomy surgery were studied. Results: Median time to progression of the retinal detachment in the laser-treated patients was 175 days versus 39 days in observed patients (P = 0.012). Both initial (P <0.001) and final (P = 0.005) visual acuities were better in the patients with laser-treated detachment than in the observed or vitrectomy patients. The retinal detachment groups were comparable in follow- up, zone and location of detachment, and size of holes, but the vitrectomy and observed groups had more cases with extensive CMV retinitis. Vitrectomy surgery was required in 9 of 16 (56%) in the observed group and 7 of 23 (30%) in the laser group. Two of nine patients (22%) who failed to respond to laser treatment for retinal breaks required vitrectomy surgery. Conclusions: Laser photocoagulation of selected retinal detachments and retinal tears delayed or avoided vitrectomy with silicone oil. It may be an important treatment modality for patients with nonmacular detachments and for those who are receiving local anti-CMV therapy with intravitreal injections or pellets, in whom silicone oil may affect the efficacy of the local treatment.
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