PURPOSE: We studied reversible loss of light perception after vitreoretinal surgery to show that functional vision can return in some patients. METHODS: We reviewed the medical records of seven patients who had postoperative reversible loss of light perception in the eye that underwent vitreoretinal surgery. Differences in the postoperative courses and interventions were studied. RESULTS: Five of the seven patients had diabetes mellitus but none had hypertension. The indications for vitreoretinal surgery were severe proliferative diabetic retinopathy in five patients and retinal detachment with advanced proliferative vitreoretinopathy in two patients. Seven patients had reversible loss of light perception within the first three postoperative days. Six of the seven patients had an intraocular pressure greater than 26 mm Hg at the time the eye had no light perception. Decreasing the intraocular pressure was associated with return of light perception in five of seven patients. Return of useful vision was gradual. Four of seven patients had a visual acuity of 20/400 or better one month after surgery, and all seven had a visual acuity of 20/400 or better three months after surgery. Visual acuity in four eyes improved further to 20/70 or better at six months or more after surgery. CONCLUSION: Reversible loss of light perception after vitreoretinal surgery does occur in some patients. Monitoring vision and intraocular pressure is important because prompt treatment may assist in the recovery of functional vision.
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