Purpose: To determine the effectiveness of autologous transplantation of the internal limiting membrane (ILM) for refractory macular holes.
Design: Prospective, interventional case series.
Patient and methods: Ten eyes of 10 consecutive patients who underwent autologous transplantation of the ILM for the treatment of refractory macular holes were studied. The primary diseases in these patients were large idiopathic macular holes that had existed for more than 1 year (4 eyes), a traumatic macular hole (1 eye), myopic foveoschisis (2 eyes), foveoschisis resulting from pit-macular syndrome (2 eyes), and proliferative diabetic retinopathy (1 eye). Apart from the 5 eyes with idiopathic or traumatic macular holes, macular holes developed in the other 5 eyes after initial vitrectomies with ILM removal. In all eyes, regular macular hole surgery failed to achieve closure. The main outcome measures used in this study were macular hole closure and best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA).
Results: Macular holes were closed successfully in 9 eyes (90%) after autologous transplantation of the ILM. The postoperative BCVAs were significantly better than the preoperative BCVAs (P = .007, paired t test). Postoperative BCVAs improved by more than 0.2 logarithm of the minimal angle of resolution units in 8 eyes (80%) and were unchanged in 2 eyes (20%).
Conclusions: Although this is a pilot study, the results suggest that autologous transplantation of the ILM may contribute to improved anatomic and visual outcomes in the treatment of refractory macular holes and may warrant further investigation.
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