Is it worth reoperating on macular holes?

Ophthalmology. 2008 Jan;115(1):158-63. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2007.01.039. Epub 2007 May 18.


Objective: To evaluate the visual outcome after a second surgical attempt to close idiopathic full-thickness macular holes (FTMH) in patients who underwent unsuccessful primary surgery and in patients with reopened FTMHs.

Design: Retrospective single-center case series.

Participants: Five hundred thirty-two patients underwent surgery for FTMH in St. Paul's Eye Unit, Liverpool, United Kingdom, between March, 1995, and March, 2005. Fifty-one patients had unclosed FTMHs (unclosed group) and 21 patients had reopened FTMHs after initially successful surgery (reopened group).

Methods: All patients underwent a second pars plana vitrectomy. Autologous platelet concentrate and perfluoropropane endotamponade were used. Internal limiting membrane peeling was carried out in selected cases. Patients were instructed to maintain a face-down position for 2 weeks after the surgery.

Main outcome measures: Anatomic and visual results.

Results: All patients in the reopened group and 76% of patients in the unclosed group achieved successfully closure of the FTMH after the second surgery. Mean decimal Snellen visual acuity (VA; +/-standard deviation [SD]) before the second surgery was 0.14+/-0.10 (range, 0.01-0.33) in the reopened group and 0.10+/-0.07 (range, hand movements [HM]-0.33) in the unclosed group. The best VA was achieved after cataract surgery; the mean best VA (+/-SD) in the reopened group was 0.42+/-0.31 (range, 0.05-1) and in the unclosed group was 0.19+/-0.14 (range, HM-0.66).

Conclusions: Reoperating on reopened FTMH resulted in 100% anatomic closure and significant improvement in vision. In contrast, reoperating on patients with initially unsuccessful surgery resulted a lower anatomic closure rate and relatively poor final vision even if their macular holes were closed successfully. This information may help surgeons and patients decide whether to undertake a second operation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blood Platelets*
  • Decision Making
  • Female
  • Fluorocarbons / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recurrence
  • Reoperation
  • Retinal Perforations / physiopathology
  • Retinal Perforations / surgery*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Visual Acuity / physiology
  • Vitrectomy*


  • Fluorocarbons
  • perflutren