Autologous Internal Limiting Membrane Fragment Transplantation for Large, Chronic, and Refractory Macular Holes

Ophthalmic Res. 2015;55(1):45-52. doi: 10.1159/000440767. Epub 2015 Nov 17.


Objective: To evaluate a technique of autologous internal limiting membrane (ILM) fragment transplantation for the treatment of large, chronic, and/or refractory macular holes (MH).

Design: This was a 6-month prospective interventional case series.

Method: Ten eyes of 10 patients with MH underwent pars plana vitretomy (PPV) and ILM peeling followed by transplantation of an autologous ILM fragment to the MH. Six patients had primary MH with an internal diameter greater than 500 µm and a duration of more than 18 months, including 1 patient with nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy previously treated with panretinal photocoagulation. Four eyes with MH had previously been submitted to PPV (i.e. 1 for retinal detachment and 3 to attempt to close large MH). One of the latter also displayed juxtapapillary choroidal neovascularization due to age-related macular degeneration. The primary and secondary outcomes were MH closure and improvement of the best corrected visual acuity (BCVA), respectively.

Results: Complete MH closure was achieved in all cases. A statistically significant improvement in the average BCVA was observed after 6 months of follow-up (p = 0.018; paired t test). The BCVA improved in 8 eyes (80%), and in 6 of those eyes it improved by ≥ 15 letters. In 1 patient, the BCVA remained unchanged after the surgery, but the visual field reportedly improved. One patient experienced a slight worsening (0.16 logMAR). Two cases developed atrophy of the retinal pigment epithelium despite MH closure and BCVA improvement.

Conclusion: Treatment with autologous ILM fragment transplantation seems to be an efficient alternative for large, chronic, and refractory MH.

Publication types

  • Clinical Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Basement Membrane / transplantation*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Endotamponade
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retinal Perforations / diagnosis
  • Retinal Perforations / physiopathology
  • Retinal Perforations / surgery*
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence
  • Transplantation, Autologous
  • Visual Acuity / physiology
  • Vitrectomy