To identify symptoms in patients with isolated posterior vitreous detachment predictive for the later development of retinal breaks.
Two hundred eighty consecutive patients seen with symptoms of posterior vitreous detachment were prospectively asked to complete a questionnaire detailing their symptoms. At the time of presentation and follow-up, all patients had a full ophthalmologic examination including slitlamp biomicroscopy with Goldmann 3-mirror contact lens after maximal pupil dilatation. Two hundred fifty patients with an isolated posterior vitreous detachment were included and reexamined 6 weeks after the onset of symptoms. If small retinal or vitreous hemorrhages were detected, patients were reexamined after 2 weeks.
In 13 patients (5.2%) a retinal break was detected at reexamination. Logistic regression analysis with backward elimination revealed that symptoms of flashes in combination with clouds or multiple (>10) small dots at the time of the initial examination or an increase of floaters after the initial examination were statistically significantly (P<.001) related to the development of new breaks. These symptoms had a predictive value for the presence or absence of a new retinal break of 75.0% and 99.6%, respectively.
Specific symptoms can identify patients at risk for the development of new retinal breaks after an initial examination in which no abnormalities were found and may obviate the need for follow-up appointments of patients not at risk.