Surgical management of macular holes: a report by the American Academy of Ophthalmology

Ophthalmology. 2001 Jul;108(7):1328-35. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(01)00731-x.


Objective: The document describes macular hole surgery and examines the available evidence to address questions about the efficacy of the procedure for different stages of macular hole, complications during and after surgery, and modifications to the technique.

Methods: A literature search conducted for the years 1968 to 2000 retrieved over 400 citations that matched the search criteria. This information was reviewed by panel members and a methodologist, and it was evaluated for the quality of the evidence presented.

Results: There are three multicenter, controlled, randomized trials that constitute Level I evidence and compare the value of surgery versus observation for macular hole. There are three multicenter, controlled, randomized trials studying the use of adjuvant therapy in macular hole repair. Postoperative vision of 20/40 or better has been reported in 22% to 49% of patients in randomized trials. The risks of surgical complications include retinal detachment (3%), endophthalmitis (<1%), cataract (>75%), and late reopening the hole (2% to 10%).

Conclusions: The evidence does not support surgery for patients with stage 1 holes. Level I evidence supports surgery for stage 2 holes to prevent progression to later stages of the disease and further visual loss. Level I evidence shows that surgery improves the vision in a majority of patients with stage 3 and stage 4 holes. There is no strong evidence that adjuvant therapy used at the time of surgery results in improved surgical outcomes. Patient inconvenience, patient preference, and quality of life issues have not been studied.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Complications
  • Ophthalmologic Surgical Procedures* / standards
  • Ophthalmology*
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Retinal Perforations / classification
  • Retinal Perforations / surgery*
  • Societies, Medical
  • Technology Assessment, Biomedical*
  • United States
  • Visual Acuity