Retinal pigment epitheliopathy after macular hole surgery

Ophthalmology. 1992 Nov;99(11):1671-7. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(92)31746-4.


Background: Full-thickness idiopathic macular holes were previously considered untreatable, but surgical intervention has been proposed to collapse the hole and improve vision. This study evaluates the fluorescein angiographic changes that occur after macular hole surgery.

Methods: Sixteen patients with stage III idiopathic macular holes underwent pars plana vitrectomy, removal of the posterior hyaloid, peeling of fine epiretinal sheets along the edges of the holes, and fluid-gas exchange. Preoperative fluorescein angiograms were performed, and best-corrected preoperative visual acuity was 20/200 or less in all eyes.

Results: Postoperatively, the macular hole disappeared in 12 eyes (75%). In all 12 eyes, retinal pigment epithelial swelling was present, with a unique fluorescein angiographic appearance. This pattern slowly resolved over months, with gradual visual improvement but residual retinal pigment epithelial mottling. Systemic and periocular steroids had no significant impact on the process.

Conclusion: The combination of prolonged intraocular gas contact and light exposure exceeding threshold for an already compromised macula appears to be responsible for this pigmentary pattern. Depending on the severity of the pigment epithelial alteration, this unique pattern may portend a guarded visual prognosis in affected patients undergoing successful macular hole repair.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Fundus Oculi
  • Humans
  • Macula Lutea / surgery*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pigment Epithelium of Eye*
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology*
  • Retinal Diseases / etiology
  • Retinal Perforations / surgery*
  • Visual Acuity
  • Vitrectomy