Purpose: To compare ultrahigh-resolution optical coherence tomography (UHR-OCT) technology to a standard-resolution OCT instrument for the imaging of macular hole pathology and repair; to identify situations where UHR-OCT provides additional information on disease morphology, pathogenesis, and management; and to use UHR-OCT as a baseline for improving the interpretation of the standard-resolution images.
Design: Observational and interventional case series.
Participants: Twenty-nine eyes of 24 patients clinically diagnosed with macular hole in at least one eye.
Methods: A UHR-OCT system has been developed and employed in a tertiary-care ophthalmology clinic. Using a femtosecond laser as the low-coherence light source, this new UHR-OCT system can achieve an unprecedented 3-mum axial resolution for retinal OCT imaging. Comparative imaging was performed with UHR-OCT and standard 10-mum resolution OCT in 29 eyes of 24 patients with various stages of macular holes. Imaging was also performed on a subset of the population before and after macular hole surgery.
Main outcome measures: Ultrahigh- and standard-resolution cross-sectional OCT images of macular hole pathologies.
Results: Both UHR-OCT and standard-resolution OCT exhibited comparable performance in differentiating various stages of macular holes. The UHR-OCT provided improved imaging of finer intraretinal structures, such as the external limiting membrane and photoreceptor inner segment (IS) and outer segment (OS), and identification of the anatomy of successful surgical repair. The improved resolution of UHR-OCT enabled imaging of previously unidentified changes in photoreceptor morphology associated with macular hole pathology and postoperative repair. Visualization of the junction between the photoreceptor IS and OS was found to be an important indicator of photoreceptor integrity for both standard-resolution and UHR-OCT images.
Conclusions: Ultrahigh-resolution optical coherence tomography improves the visualization of the macular hole architectural morphology. The increased resolution of UHR-OCT enables the visualization of photoreceptor morphology associated with macular holes. This promises to lead to a better understanding of the pathogenesis of macular holes, the causes of visual loss secondary to macular holes, the timing of surgical repair, and the evaluation of postsurgical outcome. Ultrahigh-resolution optical coherence tomography imaging of macular holes that correspond to known alterations in retinal morphology can be used to interpret retinal morphology in UHR-OCT images. Comparisons of UHR-OCT images with standard-resolution OCT images can establish a baseline for the better interpretation of clinical standard-resolution OCT images. The ability to visualize photoreceptors and their integrity or impairment is an indicator of macular hole progression and surgical outcome.