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Eye (Lond). 2008 Oct;22(10):1301-9. doi: 10.1038/eye.2008.23. Epub 2008 Mar 7.

Macular holes: vitreoretinal relationships and surgical approaches.

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Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, UK.


Idiopathic full-thickness macular holes develop as a result of anteroposterior and tangential traction exerted by the posterior vitreous cortex at the fovea. Vitreoretinal relationships during the development of macular holes can be demonstrated in detail by ocular coherence tomography, facilitating an improved understanding of their pathogenesis and guiding clinical management. Surgical strategies for the repair of macular holes are designed to relieve vitreofoveal traction and to promote flattening and reapposition of the macular hole edges by intraocular gas tamponade. A period of face-down positioning postoperatively is conventionally advised. However, the evidence to support this recommendation is weak and practice varies considerably. Surgical removal of the inner limiting membrane (ILM) is advocated to ensure thorough removal of any tangential tractional components including any residual cortical vitreous. Current evidence suggests that ILM peeling can improve anatomical outcomes but the effect on visual function is less predictable; unsuccessful attempts to peel the ILM can be associated with poor visual outcome. The use of vital dyes can facilitate visualisation of the ILM and help achieve complete, atraumatic peeling. Indocyanine green dye can enable high rates of macular hole closure but has been associated with poorer visual outcomes suggesting a dose-dependent toxicity. Trypan blue dye offers an alternative that may have a more favourable risk profile. An improved understanding of vitreoretinal relationships may facilitate a tailored approach to surgery in individuals with macular holes. Vitrectomy to relieve anteroposterior traction is central in the management of all full-thickness holes. The use of long-acting gases, prolonged face-down positioning, and ILM peeling may be more valuable for larger holes, longstanding holes, and those that have failed to close following conventional surgery.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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