Purpose: The authors characterize surgical techniques and report results for repair of retinal detachments due to varicella-zoster retinitis in patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Background: Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) retinitis is a distinctly aggressive infection in patients with AIDS. Retinal detachments occur in the majority of such patients, and contribute to their poor visual prognosis. Methods: A case series of five eyes in four patients with AIDS and retinal detachments due to VZV retinitis is presented, highlighting surgical technique and results. Pars plana vitrectomy, silicone oil tamponade, and endolaser photocoagulation were used in all cases. Results: Apparent contraction of the necrotic retina was observed, requiring large relaxing retinectomies to achieve retinal attachment in three of the five eyes. Follow up after surgery was 4, 6, 15, 29, and 30 months. Four eyes maintained ambulatory vision and the retinas remained attached. Conclusion: Vitrectomy with silicone oil tamponade may be used to preserve ambulatory vision in carefully selected patients with AIDS and retinal detachments due to VZV retinitis. Relaxing retinectomy is a useful technique to achieve and maintain retinal attachment.
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