Retinal pigment epithelial changes after macular hole surgery with indocyanine green-assisted internal limiting membrane peeling

Am J Ophthalmol. 2002 Jan;133(1):89-94. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9394(01)01293-4.


Purpose: To report the results of macular hole surgery using indocyanine green to improve visualization and facilitate peeling of the internal limiting membrane.

Methods: A retrospective noncomparative review of a consecutive series of 22 patients (22 eyes) who underwent macular hole repair using indocyanine green to facilitate visualization of the internal limiting membrane was performed. One patient was excluded because of a history of a rhegmatogenous retinal detachment. All patients underwent a three-port pars plana vitrectomy with internal limiting membrane peeling. Indocyanine green (0.1% solution) was used to assist in the visualization of the internal limiting membrane. The main outcome measures were postoperative visual acuity, macular hole status, and postoperative retinal pigment epithelial changes.

Results: In 21 eyes, the median preoperative best-corrected visual acuity was 20/200 (range, 20/60 to counting fingers at 5 feet). The median postoperative visual acuity was 20/400 (range, 20/60-1/200) with an average follow-up of 13 weeks. The macular hole was closed in 18 eyes (86%) at the most recent follow-up. Ten eyes were found to have atrophic retinal pigment epithelium changes in the area of the previous macular hole.

Conclusions: Indocyanine green assists in visualization of the internal limiting membrane in macular hole surgery. In our series, 10 eyes had unusual atrophic changes in the retinal pigment epithelium at the site of the previous macular hole, or in the area where the indocyanine green solution would have had direct access to the bare retinal pigment epithelium cells. Although the use of indocyanine green improves visualization and assists with peeling of the internal limiting membrane, the safety and potential toxicity of indocyanine green to the retinal pigment epithelium require further investigation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Atrophy
  • Epiretinal Membrane / diagnosis
  • Epiretinal Membrane / surgery*
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Dyes*
  • Humans
  • Indocyanine Green*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pigment Epithelium of Eye / pathology*
  • Postoperative Complications / pathology*
  • Retinal Perforations / diagnosis
  • Retinal Perforations / surgery*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Visual Acuity
  • Vitrectomy*


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Indocyanine Green