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Case Rep Ophthalmol. 2012 May;3(2):240-50. doi: 10.1159/000342007. Epub 2012 Aug 8.

Management of Stage IV Macular Holes: When Standard Surgery Fails.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, Santo Antonio Hospital, Oporto, Portugal.



To report the surgical outcomes of reoperation of unclosed macular holes after initial vitrectomy with internal limiting membrane peeling.


Seven eyes of 7 patients were submitted to a second procedure in which five radial retinal incisions were made, as deep as the retinal pigment epithelium, beginning one hole diameter away from its borders and extending centripetally until the hole's margins, avoiding the papilomacular bundle. Gas tamponade was performed and face-down positioning was recommended.


Anatomical closure was achieved in all cases with the second procedure. Functional success was achieved in every patient; there was no loss of best corrected visual acuity (BCVA) lines. Mean line score gain was 5.6 lines (range 1-9 lines), with a mean final BCVA of 0.42 (range 0.05-0.5).


Perifoveal relaxing incisions in stage IV macular holes that remained unclosed after internal limiting membrane peeling vitrectomy seem to have a positive effect on MH closure rates. Larger case series and an extended follow-up period are necessary in order to assess the efficacy and safety profile of this so far promising technique.


Best corrected visual acuity; Internal limiting membrane; Macular holes

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