Purpose: The purpose of this study is to assess the rate of posterior segment complications after vitreous surgery for macular holes and to evaluate the effect of such complications on final visual outcome.
Methods: The authors reviewed retrospectively all cases of vitreous surgery for macular holes performed between June 1990 and October 1993. Among 98 patients with a followup of 3 months or more, all patients with posterior segment complications during the postoperative course were identified. The rate of complications was compared with that seen after vitreous surgery for macular pucker performed by the same surgeons.
Results: Posterior segment complications were noted in 23 (23%) of 98 patients. These included peripheral retinal breaks (3%), rhegmatogenous retinal detachment from a peripheral retinal break (14%), enlargement of the hole (2%), late reopening of the hole (2%), retinal pigment epithelium loss under the hole (1%), photic toxicity (1%), and endophthalmitis (1%). In 40% of these eyes, the final visual acuity was two lines or more below preoperative visual acuity. When compared with the macular pucker group, the rate of posterior segment complications, in particular the rate of peripheral retinal tears and detachments, was significantly higher (P < or = 0.05).
Conclusions: The authors conclude that visually significant posterior segment complications may occur after vitrectomy for macular hole, and the rate of these complications appears to be higher than expected.