Oman Journal of Ophthalmology

: 2012  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 67-

Disappearance of extramacular drusen after chronic retinal detachment

Lik Thai Lim1, Joseph Holicki2, Jonathan D Walker3,  
1 Tennent Institute of Ophthalmology, Glasgow, United Kingdom
2 Holicki Eye Institute, Coldwater, MI, USA
3 Indiana University School of Medicine, Fort Wayne, IN, USA

Correspondence Address:
Lik Thai Lim
Tennent Institute of Ophthalmology, Gartnavel General Hospital, 1053 Great Western Road, Glasgow G12 0YN
United Kingdom

How to cite this article:
Lim LT, Holicki J, Walker JD. Disappearance of extramacular drusen after chronic retinal detachment.Oman J Ophthalmol 2012;5:67-67

How to cite this URL:
Lim LT, Holicki J, Walker JD. Disappearance of extramacular drusen after chronic retinal detachment. Oman J Ophthalmol [serial online] 2012 [cited 2022 Jul 1 ];5:67-67
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Full Text


We present a patient who developed a chronic retinal detachment and following successful surgical repair, she had a dramatic resolution of extramacular drusen.

A 90-year-old white female presented with a 1½ month history of decreased vision in her left eye. Her past ocular history included being pseudophakic for the last 10 years with long-term extensive bilateral symmetrical extramacular drusen. Her past medical history included hypertension. On examination her vision was 20/30 in the right eye and hand motions in the left. The left eye had an almost total retinal detachment that was successfully repaired with combined vitrectomy and scleral buckle. Postoperatively her vision improved to 20/60 and almost all the extramacular drusen in the operated eye had disappeared [Figure 1].{Figure 1}

It is well documented that drusen can disappear spontaneously, often resulting in patches of retinal pigment epithelial atrophy. [1] The absorption of drusen can also be stimulated with low fluence laser treatment although the mechanism is unknown. No study to date has demonstrated such treatment improves the visual outcome. [2] There has also been a report of a patient who had some resolution of macular drusen subsequent to macular hole surgery. [3]

To our knowledge, this particular cause of extramacular drusen disappearance has not been described in the literature. There is one similar case, wherein, the drusen disappeared after rhegmatogenous retinal detachment repair, but that case involved subfoveal drusen only. [4] The mechanism of the drusen disappearance is not fully understood, but it can be postulated that chronic exposure of the apical pigment epithelium to subretinal fluid may have allowed diffusion of the drusen material into subretinal space. Alternatively, the lack of outer segment disposal during the period of retinal detachment may have allowed drusen to clear through Bruch's membrane. There is no sign of atrophic change associated with the drusen disappearance and the patient's vision improved. This suggests that efforts to atraumatically reverse drusen formation may ultimately prove beneficial in conditions such as age-related macular degeneration.


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