Recently, good functional and anatomical results have been reported in treating full thickness macular holes. Only a few studies describe a removal of a membrane at the vitreoretinal interface after having removal of the vitreous and its cortex. To demonstrate the beneficial effects of removing this membrane at the vitreoretinal interface we present our functional and anatomical results in this retrospective study.
Patients: Altogether, 42 patients (27 women, 15 men) with an average age of 66.7 years and full thickness idiopathic macular holes stage II and III/IV (21 patients respectively) were retrospectively analysed. The minimum follow-up was 6 months. To reattach the macular, an intraocular gas tamponade was used in 36 patients (15% C2F6) and 6 patients were treated with an 20% SF6 gas tamponade.
Results: Six months after operation, patients in the main group (42 patients) showed visual improvement in 53% (22 patients): 26% (11 patients) showed no change in visual acuity before and after operation. A deterioration was present in 21% (9 patients). In the group of patients in which a membrane at the vitreoretinal interface had been removal 68% (22 patients) showed improved visual acuity. In all 26% (8 patients) showed no change and in one case a deterioration was noticed. After removal of a membrane at the vitreoretinal interface no further macular hole was seen in 80% (25 patients). In this group, 90% (28 patients) complained of metamorphosia before operation. In the group of patients in which were no membrane at the vitreoretinal interface had been removed (11 patients), 73% (8 patients) showed a deterioration in visual acuity, no patient showed improved visual acuity and 27% (3 patients) retained the same level of visual acuity. No macular hole was noticed 6 months postoperatively in 27% (3 patients) in this group. In all 36% (4 patients) in this group complained of metamorphopsia before operation.
Conclusion: Removal of a membrane at the vitreoretinal interface in patients with idiopathic macular holes stage II in IV improves functional and anatomical results. Metamorphosia is reduced significantly after removal of that membrane. According to our studies, metamorphosia is an indicator for the presence of a membrane at the vitreoretinal interface. Our results suggest that there are different types of idiopathic macular holes with a different pathogenesis in those where a membrane at the vitreoretinal interface could not be removed and those where it is possible to remove it. Cases where removal of this structure should be attempted show better functional and anatomical results. Studies using adjuvants, e.g. autologous platelet concentrate or transforming growth factor beta 2, should take into account that two different types of idiopathic macular holes exist.