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Choroidal Detachment Treatment & Management

  • Author: Carlo E Traverso, MD; Chief Editor: Hampton Roy, Sr, MD  more...
Updated: Sep 19, 2014

Medical Care

As soon as the diagnosis is confirmed, topical corticosteroids, cycloplegics, and mydriatics should be prescribed for patients. Oral steroids can be used and are indicated when inflammation is a factor.[23] When the IOP is high, which can occur with hemorrhagic choroidal detachments, IOP-lowering drugs can be used. Osmotics and aqueous suppressants are recommended. Parasympathomimetics are contraindicated.


Surgical Care

If choroidal detachment persists longer than 1 week after the underlying cause has been identified and addressed, drainage of the suprachoroidal fluid should be considered. The 7-day limit is an indication only; individualized assessment is key. If an improvement is suspected, waiting longer and closely monitoring the patient may be warranted. Immediate action is indicated when lens-cornea touch or IOL-cornea touch exists. This condition causes endothelial corneal damage and acceleration of lens opacities.

  • If the AC remains flat after the cause has been identified and addressed, injection of viscoelastics into the AC should be considered. If lens-cornea touch or IOL-cornea touch exists, the AC reformation should be performed immediately, at the slit lamp if possible, while waiting to assess the need for suprachoroidal fluid drainage.
    • The AC reformation at the slit lamp is best performed through a paracentesis tract in the peripheral cornea; paracentesis tracts usually are made at the time of cataract or glaucoma surgery.
    • If not present, a paracentesis should be made with extreme care because the eye is likely to be soft and sore with a peripherally flat chamber; otherwise, inadvertent iris and lens damage may result. Performing a small full-thickness corneal incision with a sharp 15° knife is safer.
    • A cooperative patient is mandatory if the procedure is to be performed safely at the slit lamp.
    • The AC reformation procedure requires preparation with topical anesthesia, povidone-iodine preparation, and assistants to hold the lids and head of the patient.
  • The technique for suprachoroidal fluid drainage involves making a paracentesis in the peripheral cornea. A balanced salt solution (BSS) is injected to fill the AC. The paracentesis site made at the time of cataract or glaucoma surgery can be used.
    • Preoperatively, the sectors where the most fluid is accumulated should be identified by ophthalmoscopy or B-scan ultrasonography.
    • Beginning with the sector where the detachment is largest, posterior sclerostomy is performed at 4-5 mm from the limbus. Circumferential cuts are made, producing an incision of about 2 mm in length. This is shown in the illustration below.
      Drainage of suprachoroidal space. After the posterDrainage of suprachoroidal space. After the posterior sclerostomies are performed, gentle infusion in the anterior chamber through a paracentesis tract helps the globe to maintain a tone while the fluid exit from the suprachoroidal space is facilitated.
    • As soon as the suprachoroidal space is reached, the fluid drains. Serous detachments drain clear yellow fluid. Hemorrhagic detachments drain dark red fluid, often particulated with blood clots, shown in the image below. Gentle poking with a blunt instrument a few millimeters around the sclerostomy helps drainage when spontaneous flow slows down.
      Drainage of suprachoroidal space. The hemorrhagic Drainage of suprachoroidal space. The hemorrhagic fluid is darker than fresh blood. Mechanical gaping of the radial incisions facilitates the egress of fluid.
    • After one quadrant is drained, the AC is filled again with BSS, and the second quadrant receives a posterior sclerostomy in the same fashion. This procedure can be repeated for all 4 quadrants.
    • At the end, especially in highly myopic eyes without a lens, SF6 gas can be left in the vitreous cavity to tamponade. No agreement exists regarding the closure of sclerostomies, which some surgeons elect to leave unsutured to allow for more drainage.
Contributor Information and Disclosures

Carlo E Traverso, MD Professor and Chairman, Clinica Oculistica of Department of Neurosciences, Ophthalmology, Maternal and Pediatrics and Genetics, University of Genova Medical School/IRCCS Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria San Martino-IST, Italy

Carlo E Traverso, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Ophthalmology, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, European Glaucoma Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Steve Charles, MD Director of Charles Retina Institute; Clinical Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Tennessee College of Medicine

Steve Charles, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Society of Retina Specialists, Macula Society, Retina Society, Club Jules Gonin

Disclosure: Received royalty and consulting fees for: Alcon Laboratories.

Chief Editor

Hampton Roy, Sr, MD Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Hampton Roy, Sr, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Ophthalmology, American College of Surgeons, Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Richard W Allinson, MD Associate Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, Texas A&M University Health Science Center; Senior Staff Ophthalmologist, Scott and White Clinic

Richard W Allinson, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Medical Association, Texas Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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Serous choroidal detachment. Two lobes (ie, supertemporal, supranasal) of fluid accumulation are visible. The choroidal folds seen at the posterior pole are due to concomitant hypotony.
B-scan ultrasonography examination of choroidal detachment. Fluid appears to be serum on one side (upper) and blood on the other side (below). Retina-to-retina contact, or kissing choroidal detachment, is present.
Kissing choroidal detachment. When the lobes of the detachment are sufficiently large, retina-to-retina contact occurs. If this is extended centrally, the clinical picture is described as kissing choroidals. The extension of the lobes of detachment/edema is important for the decision-making process regarding the clinical management.
Postoperative suprachoroidal hemorrhage. In this buphthalmic aphakic eye, suprachoroidal hemorrhage resulted in vitreous hemorrhage, retinal detachment, and extrusion of retina and blood through the pupil into the anterior chamber.
Drainage of suprachoroidal space. After the posterior sclerostomies are performed, gentle infusion in the anterior chamber through a paracentesis tract helps the globe to maintain a tone while the fluid exit from the suprachoroidal space is facilitated.
Drainage of suprachoroidal space. The hemorrhagic fluid is darker than fresh blood. Mechanical gaping of the radial incisions facilitates the egress of fluid.
Drainage of suprachoroidal hemorrhage. At least two quadrants, guided by B-scan images. Careful sclerostomies are performed at 4-5 mm from the limbus. The anterior chamber (AC) should be frequently reformed or a low-pressure AC infusion line should be placed. Gentle pressure on the surrounding sclera will help drainage. Serum is yellow and clear, blood is very dark red. Do not grab or pull from inside the sclerostomies. The technique is the same for drainage of serous choroidal detachment.
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