Purpose: The authors evaluated the impact of vitreoretinal surgery for epiretinal membrane (ERM), rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (RRD), and complex retinal detachment (CRD) on bilateral visual function. Methods: Anatomic and visual acuity outcomes were reviewed by the authors for all patients who underwent surgery for ERM, RRD, or CRD during a 2-year period. Several outcome measures of bilateral visual function were applied to quantitate the impact of surgery on bilateral visual function. Data were also analyzed by subdividing patients into two cohorts based on whether vision in the fellow eye was normal (visual acuity ≤ 20/40) or abnormal (visual acuity ≤ 20/50) at baseline. Results: Anatomic and visual acuity outcomes of 187 study eyes were similar to previous studies. Postoperatively, the study eye was the eye with better vision in 30.9%, 26.8%, and 16.7% of patients with ERM, RRD, and CRD, respectively. The mean bilateral visual impairment according to American Medical Association Guidelines for Disability decreased postoperatively by 8.7% points, 6.8% points, and 3.6% points, respectively, and decreased most when vision in the fellow eye was abnormal. A higher bilateral visual system functional level resulted postoperatively in 10.7% of all patients, including 28.6% of patients with abnormal vision in the fellow eye (by definition, the visual system functional level of patients with normal vision in the fellow eye could not be improved). Conclusions: Surgery was associated with a reduction in bilateral visual disability among patients with ERM, RRD, and CRD, and 28.6% of patients with abnormal vision in the fellow eye achieved a higher bilateral visual functional level.
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