To assess the complication rates of pars plana vitrectomy (PPV) among older Americans and to determine whether rates of adverse events and additional operations have changed during the past decade.
Claims data were reviewed to identify all adults aged 68 years or older in the 5% Medicare sample who underwent their first PPV during 1994-1995, 1999-2000, and 2004-2005. One-year rates of severe complications (endophthalmitis, suprachoroidal hemorrhage, or retinal detachment), less severe complications, receipt of an additional operation, and blindness were calculated and compared among the 3 groups using Cox regression. Analyses were adjusted for prior adverse events (during the previous 3 years), demographic characteristics, and comorbid conditions.
The 1994-1995, 1999-2000, and 2004-2005 cohorts had 3263, 5064, and 5263 patients, respectively. The 1-year severe complication rates did not differ among the 3 groups (range, 4.8%-5.5%). The hazard of a less severe complication or an additional operation was higher in the 2004-2005 cohort than in the earlier cohorts (P < .05 for all comparisons). The hazard of endophthalmitis was higher in black individuals (P = .07) and those of other races (P = .02) than in white patients.
During the past decade, rates of severe complications after PPV remained stable, but rates of less severe complications and subsequent operations increased. Future studies should explore the potential factors that explain these changes and the alarming elevated incidence of post-PPV endophthalmitis among nonwhite individuals.