Photoreceptor layer features in eyes with closed macular holes: optical coherence tomography findings and correlation with visual outcomes

Am J Ophthalmol. 2005 Feb;139(2):280-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ajo.2004.09.029.


Purpose: Study correlation between optical coherence tomography (OCT) findings and visual acuity (VA) outcomes after successful macular hole surgery (MHS).

Design: Retrospective cross-sectional study.

Methods: Postoperative OCT scans were analyzed in 34 eyes of 30 patients. Raw files of horizontal and vertical OCT scans were exported to Adobe Photoshop 7.0. Measured parameters included central foveal thickness, photoreceptor thickness, photoreceptor reflectivity, and relative reflectivity of photoreceptor to retinal pigment epithelium in the foveal area. Foveal configuration was subjectively graded.

Results: OCT scans were obtained at a median of 2 years (1 month to 10 years) postoperatively. The median visual acuity was 20/80 (20/50 to 8/200) preoperatively and 20/50 (20/20 to 5/200) postoperatively. The median foveal thickness was 198.5 micro (148 to 283). The mean (SD) photoreceptor layer thickness was 16.5 (8) micro in the 500 micro area and 17.5 (8) micro in the 1000 micro area. Mean (SD) of relative reflectivity of the photoreceptor layer was 0.60 (0.10) in both 500 micro and 1000 micro area. Postoperative VA did not correlate with foveal thickness or foveal configuration. Central (500 micro and 1000 micro) photoreceptor thickness was significantly correlated with final VA (r = .38, P = .026, each). Relative reflectivity of photoreceptors to retinal pigment epithelium in the 500 micro area was correlated with postoperative VA at a borderline significance (r = .32, P = .07). Relative reflectivity of photoreceptors to retinal pigment epithelium in the 1000 micro area was not significantly correlated with postoperative VA (r = .27, P = .12).

Conclusion: Specific retinal features can be assessed from OCT images. Morphology and thickness of the foveal photoreceptor layer correlate well with macular function after successful MHS. Outer retinal features appear to be more important to determine postoperative visual function. Inner retinal features may be more relevant for the ophthalmoscopic appearance of anatomic closure.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Basement Membrane / surgery
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Ophthalmological*
  • Female
  • Fluorocarbons / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Photoreceptor Cells, Vertebrate / pathology*
  • Postoperative Period
  • Prone Position
  • Retinal Perforations / physiopathology*
  • Retinal Perforations / surgery*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence / methods*
  • Visual Acuity / physiology*
  • Vitrectomy


  • Fluorocarbons
  • perflutren