Many surgical fields are impacted by fluctuating care on weekends, and a new study in JAMA Ophthalmology reports a similar trend for patients with retinal concerns.

Researchers from California found patients with rhegmatogenous retinal detachments who were treated on the weekend were more likely to undergo pneumatic retinopexy. Additionally, they reported patients who were treated on Sundays were more likely to require a second operation within 30 days, and those who were diagnosed on Fridays waited longer for surgery. 

The claims-based study included 38,144 commercially insured patients in the United States with incident rhegmatogenous retinal detachment. All patients were treated within 14 days of diagnosis. The study assessed the patients’ likelihood of repair with different procedures, and took into account the day of the week patients received the diagnosis or underwent retinal detachment repair.

The researchers found pneumatic retinopexy was more likely to occur when patients received a diagnosis on Friday, Saturday or Sunday compared with a Wednesday diagnosis. The study also noted pneumatic retinopexy was the most common surgical procedure on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Patients who had pneumatic retinopexy on Sundays were more likely to have a second procedure (repeat pneumatic retinopexy, scleral buckle or pars plana vitrectomy) within 30 days. The researchers found no link between the day of the week of the initial repair and the need for another procedure after scleral buckle or pars plana vitrectomy.

Another study highlight: patients who received a diagnosis on a Friday waited about 0.28 days longer for a repair than those who were diagnosed on a Wednesday.

Vail D, Pan C, Pershing S, Mruthyunjaya P. Association of rhegmatogenous retinal detachment and outcomes with the day of the week that patients undergo a repair or receive a diagnosis. JAMA Ophthalmol. December 19, 2019. [Epub ahead of print].