To describe preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative characteristics, imaging findings, and clinical evolution of patients who developed orbital emphysema after vitreoretinal surgery.
Retrospective, descriptive, observational case series.
Patients with orbital emphysema after vitreoretinal surgery who were diagnosed and treated between January 2006 and October 2018 at a single ophthalmology referral center.
Medical records and orbital computed tomography images were reviewed and analyzed. A minimum follow-up of 3 months was required.
Final best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA).
This study included 16 patients with a mean age of 47.9 ± 14.7 years, 50% were women, and 25% had a history of previous ocular trauma. A diagnosis of rhegmatogenous retinal detachment was established in 75% of patients. Twenty-five percent of patients underwent pars plana vitrectomy (PPV), 50% underwent encircling scleral buckling plus PPV, 18.8% underwent repeat PPV, and 6.2% underwent scleral buckling plus repeat PPV. Additionally, 62.5% received silicone oil endotamponade. The median time between vitreoretinal surgery and orbital emphysema was 8 days (interquartile range [IQR] 5-15 days). Mean proptosis was 6.7 ± 4.6 mm. Orbital cellulitis was considered as a differential diagnosis in 31.2% of patients, and tomographic evidence of fracture was observed in 25% of patients. Treatment with compressive patching was prescribed for 87.5% of patients, transpalpebral drainage was prescribed for 75% of patients, hyperbaric oxygen therapy was prescribed for 43.8% of patients, and surgical management was prescribed for 31.2% of patients. The comparison between BCVA before vitreoretinal surgery (median, 1.8 logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution [logMAR]; IQR, 1.33-2.3 logMAR) and at the last follow-up (median, 2.3 logMAR; IQR, 1.42-2.8 logMAR) was not statistically significant (P = 0.125, Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed-rank test). No association was found between surgeon experience and lower final BCVA (P = 0.604, Fisher exact test); however, development of ocular hypertension was associated with worse final BCVA (P = 0.0101; relative risk, 7; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-44.63).
Although orbital emphysema constitutes a very unusual complication of vitreoretinal surgery, it is important to identify this condition promptly and treat patients efficiently to avoid potential vision loss.

Copyright © 2020 American Academy of Ophthalmology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.