Visual field defects after macular hole surgery. A new finding

Ophthalmology. 1996 Dec;103(12):2152-8; discussion 2158-9. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(96)30376-x.


Purpose: The purpose of the study is to report the problem of a temporal visual field defect occurring after macular hole surgery.

Methods: The authors reviewed the records of 13 patients found to have visual field defects after vitrectomy for macular holes. Fluorescein angiograms (13 patients), optic nerve photographs (13 patients), focal electroretinograms (3 patients), and nerve fiber analyses (8 patients) were performed in patients with visual field defects.

Results: An absolute, temporal, usually inferior field defect was noted in 13 patients. In eight patients, the defect was detected because of specific reports or retrospective field examination results. Five patients examined in a prospective manner were found to have field defects. No history of abnormal intraocular pressure or direct trauma to the optic nerve or retinal vessels was identified. Four patients showed optic nerve pallor and three had an anomalous-appearing disc. Focal electroretinograms were of similar amplitude in the involved retina compared to corresponding areas in the healthy fellow eye. Nerve fiber analysis showed a reduction in nerve fiber layer thickness correlating to the visual field defect in those eight patients in which this test was used.

Conclusion: A significant temporal field defect may occur in patients after otherwise uncomplicated surgery for macular holes. The cause is unclear; however, reductions in nerve fiber layer thickness from the superior and nasal peripapillary area suggest that acute surgical release of the posterior hyaloid and the use of long-acting intraocular gas may in certain patients result in visual field defects.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Electroretinography
  • Female
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Fundus Oculi
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Fibers / pathology
  • Optic Nerve / pathology
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology*
  • Postoperative Complications / pathology
  • Retinal Perforations / surgery*
  • Vision Disorders / etiology*
  • Vision Disorders / pathology
  • Visual Acuity
  • Visual Fields*
  • Vitrectomy / adverse effects*