Purpose: The purposes of this study are to measure real-time intraocular pressure (IOP) during scleral buckling and to determine the effects of elevated IOPs on ocular perfusion. Patients and Methods: A standard 4-mm, 20-gauge infusion cannula was inserted through the pars plana, connected to a standard hemodynamic monitoring unit with an electronic pressure transducer, and calibrated. The authors measured real-time IOP in 20 eyes undergoing scleral buckling surgery for primary rhegmatogenous retinal detachments and determined the IOP required to close the central retinal artery. Pressure measurements were read from the monitor videoscreen intraoperatively and from a continuous paper tracing postoperatively. Results: The patients ranged in age from 24 to 88 years (mean, 59.7 years). The highest IOP elevations occurred during scleral depression and cryopexy, ranging up to 210 mmHg (mean, 116 mmHg). Pressures at which the central retinal artery closed ranged from 48 to 110 mmHg (mean, 79.2 mmHg). Manipulations of the globes caused IOPs greater than the central retinal artery perfusion pressures in 13 of the 20 patients. The duration of pressures in excess of the central retinal artery perfusion pressure ranged from 6 to 402 seconds (mean, 118.8 seconds). There were no intraoperative or postoperative complications from the infusion cannula. Conclusions: Conventional scleral buckling surgery causes wide fluctuations in IOP and may impair ocular perfusion. Additional studies are needed to determine the long-term consequences of these pressure elevations.
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