Objective: To assess microstructural changes in the retina that may explain incomplete visual recovery after anatomically successful repair of rhegmatogenous retinal detachments (RD) using ultrahigh-resolution optical coherence tomography (UHR OCT). Design: Retrospective observational case series. Participants: Seventeen patients with decreased visual acuity after RD repair. Twelve patients had macula-involving and 5 had macula-sparing RDs. Methods: The UHR OCT prototype capable of ∼3 μm axial resolution was developed for clinical use. The UHR OCT images through the center of the fovea in 17 patients with visual complaints after RD surgery were obtained. Patients were either postoperative patients from the New England Eye Center or tertiary referrals. Baseline visual acuity, preoperative lens status, location of retinal detachment, macular involvement, and postoperative visual acuity were recorded. Main Outcome Measures: The UHR OCT images after RD repair. Results: The UHR OCT images were obtained 1 to 84 months (median, 5 months) postoperatively. The mean preoperative logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution (logMAR) visual acuity was 1.37 (Snellen equivalent, 20/390). The mean postoperative logMAR visual acuity was 0.48 (Snellen equivalent, 20/60). Anatomical abnormalities that were detected included distortion of the photoreceptor inner/outer segments (IS/OS) junction in 14 of 17 patients (82%), epiretinal membranes in 10 of 17 patients (59%), residual subretinal fluid in 3 of 17 patients (18%), and cystoid macular edema in 2 of 17 patients (12%). Of the 5 patients with preoperative macula-on detachments, 4 had distortion of the outer retina after RD repair. Conclusions: The higher resolution of UHR OCT facilitates imaging of the IS/OS junction. Therefore, UHR OCT is able to confirm prior histopathologic findings that damage to photoreceptor outer segments may occur as a consequence of retinal detachment. This may explain poor postoperative visual acuity in eyes with anatomically successful repair.
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