Scleral rupture during retinal detachment surgery: Risk factors, management options, and outcomes

Homayoun Tabandeh, Christina Flaxel, Paul M. Sullivan, Peter K. Leaver, Harry W. Flynn, Joyce Schiffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate the potential risk factors, management strategies, and outcomes of scleral rupture during retinal detachment (RD) surgery. Design: Case-control study. Participants and Controls: Fourteen consecutive patients with scleral rupture during RD surgery (cases) and 65 consecutive patients who underwent RD surgery without scleral rupture (controls). Intervention: Demographic and clinical data were abstracted from patients' medical records. Outcome Measures: Visual acuity and retinal attachment status at the last examination. Results: Significant risk factors for scleral rupture during RD surgery were reoperation after failed RD surgery (71% vs. 32%), and pre-existing scleral pathologic condition (29% vs. none). The site of rupture was in the bed of a previously placed scleral buckle in all patients with a previous buckling surgery. Repair of the rupture included scleral sutures in eight (57%), scleral patch graft in four (29%), and placement of a scleral buckle over the site in two (14%) eyes. Eleven (79%) underwent vitrectomy with retinal tamponade by gas (n = 4) or silicone oil (n = 7). Complications observed postoperatively included vitreoretinal incarceration (n = 3), vitreous hemorrhage (n = 2), suprachoroidal hemorrhage (n = 2) and subretinal hemorrhage (n = 3). In the 14 eyes with scleral rupture, the final visual acuity was ≥20/40 in 1 (7%), 20/50 to 20/200 in 5 (36%), and <20/200 in 8 (57%). Ten (71%) had proliferative vitreoretinopathy develop. The retina was attached in 7 (50%), 6 (43%) had localized peripheral detachment, and 1 had a total retinal detachment. The vision improved in 4 (29%), was unchanged in 5 (36%), and was worse than before surgery in 5 (36%). In the 65 controls, the visual acuity at the time of the last examination was ≥20/40 in 26 (40%), 20/50 to 20/200 in 21 (32%), and <20/200 in 18 (28%). Sixty three (97%) patients had complete retinal reattachment, 1 (2%) had a localized peripheral RD, and 1 (2%) had an RD involving the posterior pole. After surgery, the vision improved in 45 (69%), was unchanged in 15 (23%), and was worse in 5 (8%) of the control eyes. The visual and anatomic outcomes of the eyes with scleral rupture were significantly worse than in the control group (P = 0.002 and P < 0.001, respectively). Conclusions: Risk factors associated with intraoperative scleral rupture include reoperation for failed RD surgery and pre-existing scleral pathology. Although this complication may be compatible with a good visual outcome in some patients, a high incidence of persistent or recurrent RD with proliferative vitreoretinopathy worsens the visual outcome for most patients with this complication. (C) 2000 by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)848-852
Number of pages5
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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