Purpose: To address the efficacy of surgical intervention for chronic macular holes.
Methods: The cases of 22 patients (23 eyes) who underwent pars plana vitrectomy with or without internal limiting membrane (ILM) peeling and use of 10% to 16% C3F8 gas for macular holes of duration of >1 year (mean, 4.2 years; range, 1.2-15 years) were retrospectively reviewed. Preoperative visual acuity ranged from 20/60 to 5/200 (mean, 20/278). Thirteen eyes (56.5%) had stage 3 macular holes, and 10 eyes (43.5%) had stage 4 macular holes. The mean age of the patients was 70.2 years (range, 47-78 years), and 20 (87%) were female.
Results: Nineteen (83%) of 23 macular holes were closed at final follow-ups at >/=9 months (mean, 4.67 years; range, 0.9-10.8 years). With one operation that included ILM peeling, 13 (81%) of 16 eyes had holes that closed. Seven eyes on which initial surgery without ILM peeling failed underwent reoperation with ILM peeling, and all but one had closed holes. ILM peeling was significant for surgical success of one operation (Fisher exact test, P = 0.0005). Postoperative visual acuity ranged from 20/30 to 20/800 (mean, 20/166). Improved vision with halving of the visual angle occurred in 16 eyes (70%). Nine eyes (39%) achieved visual acuity of 20/70 or better, and two eyes (8.7%) achieved visual acuity of 20/40 or better. One eye (4%) had worse visual acuity, and three eyes (13%) remained unchanged. Cataract was a possible cause of decreased vision in six eyes (26%) at the end of follow-up.
Conclusion: Chronic macular holes can be surgically closed with visual improvement in most patients. ILM peeling is an important surgical factor for closure of the macular hole with one operation.