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What made you wait so long? Delays in presentation of retinal detachment: knowledge is related to an attached macula.

Acta Ophthalmol 2016, vol. 94, issue 5


In rhegmatogenous retinal detachment, the time between first symptoms and reattachment surgery is critical to prevent macular detachment. We explored which determinants discriminate between 'macula-ON' and 'macula-OFF' retinal detachments to improve timely treatment.


Eight-hundred patients with rhegmatogenous retinal detachment admitted for surgery at the Rotterdam Eye Hospital in the Netherlands were eligible to complete a questionnaire to explore the following determinants: (i) patient's delay and doctor's delay; (ii) patient-reported causes for delay; (iii) symptoms as early warning signals; (iv) patient's prior knowledge about retinal detachment; and (v) trait anxiety.


Five hundred and twenty-one questionnaires (65%) were analysed. Median interval between first symptoms and surgery was 14 days. Macula-ON/OFF ratio was 46/54. Patient's delay in macula-ON patients (median 3 days) was shorter than in macula-OFF (5 days, p = 0.026). No difference was found in doctor's delay except for 'waiting time for surgery': macula-ON patients were operated on faster (median 1 day) than macula-OFF (median 5 days, p 


Macula-ON patients seem to self-refer faster to a healthcare provider, seem more sensitive to floaters and seem more informed. This suggests that increasing awareness, especially about floaters, might increase the proportion of patients with macula still on at the moment of referral to the ophthalmologist.

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