For patients with acute posterior vitreous detachment (PVD), many clinicians terminate their follow-up protocol after six weeks without a retinal break. However, new data suggests these patients are still at risk for complications beyond this common follow-up period.

Researchers at Wills Eye Hospital recently presented a new study at ARVO 2019 that challenges the assumption that retinal breaks do not develop after six weeks in PVD patients. They evaluated 8,122 patients who presented with PVD, 15.1% of whom had a concurrent retinal break at the initial visit. Of the 6,899 patients without retinal break, 5.8% went on to develop one later—indicating that 24.5% of all patients with retinal breaks had delayed onset. The average time of the delayed break was 14 weeks, while the median was four weeks after the initial PVD presentation.

When the researchers studied the subgroup of patients who experienced a retinal break after six weeks, they found the average time from the PVD to the break was 31.4 weeks.

Of all patients with delayed retinal breaks, 40.3% received treatment more than six weeks after the initial PVD presentation.

The researchers note their findings support the importance of repeat exams in PVD patients to watch for delayed retinal breaks, as the assumed six-week follow-up is not sufficient to catch late-onset complications.

Uhr J, Obeid A, Wibblelsman TD, et al. Incidence and timing of delayed retinal breaks following acute symptomatic posterior vitreous detachment. ARVO 2019. Abstract 3967-A0466.