Purpose: To describe a group of patients with dense visual field defects following macular hole surgery.
Methods: Nine (7%) of 125 patients reviewed noted onset of dense visual field defects following uncomplicated vitrectomy with gas-fluid exchange for the treatment of macular hole. Patient records were reviewed to investigate the etiology of these defects.
Results: Eight (89%) of nine eyes that had surgery for macular hole developed dense, wedge-shaped visual field defects in the temporal periphery. One eye had an inferonasal wedge-shaped defect extending to fixation. Seven (78%) of nine eyes had generalized or focal narrowing of the retinal arteriole extending into the area of retina corresponding to the visual field defect, and five (56%) of nine eyes developed mild to moderate segmental nasal optic disk pallor. Postoperative fluorescein angiography disclosed one eye with delayed filling of the retinal arteriole extending into the area of retina corresponding to the visual field defect. Vitrectomy specimens showed no evidence of nerve fiber layer or internal limiting membrane in eight (89%) of nine eyes.
Conclusions: Visual field defects can occur following vitrectomy and gas-fluid exchange for macular hole. The most common visual field defect is dense and wedge-shaped and involves the temporal visual field. Although unclear, the etiology may involve trauma to the peripapillary retinal vasculature or nerve fiber layer during elevation of the posterior hyaloid or during aspiration at the time of air-fluid exchange, followed by compression and occlusion of the retinal peripapillary vessels during gas tamponade.