Removal of the crystalline lens increases the risk of rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (RD) by creating changes in the ocular environment that predispose to development of retinal breaks. The evolution of cataract surgery from intracapsular cataract extraction (ICCE) to extracapsular cataract extraction (ECCE) and phacoemulsification has reduced the incidence of RD, while advances in vitreoretinal surgery have resulted in improved outcomes when retinal detachment does occur. The incidence of RD varies between 0.4-3.6% for ICCE and between 0.55-1.65% for ECCE. In eyes having undergone phacoemulsification the incidence is similar to those of ECCE and ranges between 0.75-1.65%. In this article the authors review the incidence and risk factors associated with pseudophakic and aphakic RD. The risk factors discussed include pre-operative risk factors such as age, status of the fellow eye and myopia, and surgical risk factors such as vitreous loss, posterior capsular integrity and Nd : YAG capsulotomy.
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