Rhegmatogenous Retinal Detachment Rates Significantly Up In 10-Year Study

Retinal photomontage of a retinal detachment: the separationof the sensory retina from the underlying pigment epitheliu m. It markedly disturbs vision and often requires immediate surgery. This photomontage of 15 images allows all of the anterior and posterior retina to remain in focus, giving an overview of the amount of tissue detached.
The increased incidence is likely linked with more cataract surgeries and a higher prevalence of myopia, researchers suggest.

Rhegmatogenous retinal detachments (RRD) are becoming more common across the UK, according to a 10-year survey study published in Eye. Researchers who reviewed a Scottish population found an approximate 50% increase, particularly in men between the ages of 50 and 69 years, according to the study. 

“The increase in RRD incidence is likely to be due to more cataract surgery, and a higher prevalence of myopia,” the investigators speculate. 

The research itself was conducted as a follow up to a 2009 survey. Data were collected from 6 vitreoretinal units in Scotland between August 2019 and August 2020 using the same case definitions used in the 2009 study, including demographic information (age and sex) and clinical features (visual acuity, detachment status, type of retinal break, lens status, macula status, an type of surgery performed). Researchers used the 2019 midyear data from the National Records of Scotland to calculate age-specific incidence of retinal detachment.

They collected 875 RRD results, showing an increase in incidence in Scotland to 16.02/100,000 per year, resulting in an incidence ratio of 1:1.315 (95% CI 1.18-1.46, P <.0001) when compared with the original study in 2010. Overall incidence of RRD in men significantly increased from 14.75 to 20.39 (P <.0001). The largest increase based on sex and age group was seen in men aged 50 to 59 years (P =.0094), and those aged 60 to 69 years (P =.0395). A notable increase was also seen in women aged 40 to 49 years (P =.0312) and 50 to 59 years (P =.0024). The macula-off RRD rates show little change from 2010, while a 28% increase was observed in pseudophakia when comparing the 2009 results to the current study (21.6% vs 29.4%, χ 2 = 11.03, P =.0009).

Increasing incidences have also been reported across Europe, in Denmark, France, the Netherlands, and Croatia, all primarily showing the greatest increases in men between ages 50 and 70.

The researchers suggest that this increase may have an association with parallel increases in the number of cataract surgeries and myopia diagnoses. They note that the number of vitreoretinal specialists has not increased since the 2009 study, and suggest this may need to change to appease the increasing rate. 

The collection of clinical data is limited, both due to the influence of COVID-19 on diagnosis and the limited clinical data that could be collected during the study. 


El-Abiary M, Shams F, Goudie C, and Yorston D. The Scottish RD survey 10 years on: increasing incidence of retinal detachments. Eye. Published online June 1, 2022. doi:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41433-022-02123-1 

This article originally appeared on Ophthalmology Advisor