Background: The purpose of this paper is to evaluate changes of the vitreoretinal interface in fellow eyes of eyes with a macular hole and to study early stages of macular hole formation by spectral optical coherence tomography (SOCT).
Methods: A prospective study of 131 consecutive patients with history of macular hole. Serial SOCT examinations were performed on the fellow eyes four times during a 6-month observation period. Progression of foveal changes and formation of macular hole in the fellow eyes were studied.
Results: Seven distinct abnormalities in the foveal region were noted in 70 of the fellow eyes (53.4%). Additionally in 18 patients (13.6%) other defects typical for the older population were noted. Gradual evolution to full-thickness macular holes during the 6-month observation period was noted in five eyes. One of these eyes had a previously detected cyst, and four eyes had elevation of the photoreceptor layer.
Conclusions: The high prevalence of macular abnormalities in the fellow eyes particularly epiretinal membranes and vitreous traction with schizis as well as the evolution of these abnormalities over time suggest that diseases of the vitreomacular interface may have similar pathogenesis. Macular hole formation often starts as a triangular elevation of the photoreceptor layer. In some cases, a cyst in the inner retinal layers can be an early step in macular hole formation.