PURPOSE: To report the rate of retinal detachment after vitrectomy for retained intravitreal lens material after phacoemulsification using specific vitrectomy techniques designed to minimize retinal detachment. DESIGN: Consecutive, interventional case series. METHODS: Retrospective chart review of 100 consecutive eyes (one surgeon) of 100 patients undergoing vitrectomy for retained lens material after phacoemulsification and followed up for 3 months or longer unless an outcome event had occurred. Vitrectomy techniques employed to minimize the frequency of retinal detachment included inducing posterior vitreous detachment with maximal vitreous removal before phacofragmentation to avoid vitreous trauma, lens fragment debulking before fragmentation, use of low energy with high aspiration during removal of retained lens material, and intraoperative indirect ophthalmoscopic evaluation of the retinal periphery with scleral indentation to diagnose and treat intraoperative retinal breaks. The main outcome measures included prevalence of coexisting retinal detachment in eyes with retained lens material, incidence of retinal detachment or retinal breaks after vitrectomy for removal of retained lens material, and final visual acuity. RESULTS: The prevalence of previtrectomy retinal detachment was 4%; the incidence of postvitrectomy retinal detachment was 4%; the final visual acuity was 20/40 or better in 53%. One patient had a retinal break recognized during vitrectomy and was treated with retinocryopexy, but postoperative retinal detachment developed from a separate break. Three others were treated during vitrectomy for retinal breaks (including two with known preexisting breaks) and did not have any retinal detachment. Poor previtrectomy visual acuity (hand motions) was a risk factor for postvitrectomy retinal detachment. CONCLUSIONS: The rate of retinal detachment reported after vitrectomy for retained lens material after phacoemulsification can be minimized to approximately the rate expected with cataract extraction complicated by vitreous loss by employing standard surgical techniques. Higher risk eyes may benefit from more frequent postvitrectomy examinations.
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