Eye surgeons at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics hope that changing the point of entry for retina surgery will improve the safety and recovery for the youngest patients.
In a study to be published in RETINA The Journal of Retinal and Vitreous Diseases in May and online April 6, Vinit Mahajan, MD, PhD, UI assistant professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences, discusses how the modified procedure for retinal surgery on infants and young children can be safer, reduce the possibility of injury, and shorten recovery time.
"The difference in where we make the first surgical incisions is just a few millimeters, but it can give the surgeon a safer approach," says Mahajan, the senior author on the paper.
He explained, “to repair the retina inside of the eye, ophthalmologists traditionally insert instruments through the pars plana. But there can be severely traumatized or diseased tissue hidden at this location. By moving the entry point forward a few millimeters to the limbus, we can avoid any additional injury.”
The surgery is typically performed to repair or remove diseased tissue inside the eye. The UI study reported on 10 infants and children who underwent the modified surgery for a variety of reasons, including complications of congenital cataract,intraocular hemorrhage; glaucoma, genetic disorders, and non-accidental trauma.
“Because the surgery is started in this new location, there are fewer sutures required and less tissue disruption,” Mahajan said.
Co-author Polly Quiram, MD, PhD, a pediatric retina specialist at VitreoRetinal Surgery PA in Edina, Minn., noted “recovery time is shorter with less inflammation and scar formation, giving these children a jump on earlier healing.”
Christine Kay, MD, former UI retina fellow and co-author, added, "These are very subtle changes but they can make a huge difference."