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Ophthalmology. 1994 Jun;101(6):1055-9; discussion 1060.

Vitrectomy for prevention of macular holes. Results of a randomized multicenter clinical trial. Vitrectomy for Prevention of Macular Hole Study Group.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Rush Medical College, Chicago, Illinois.



The purpose of this study is to assess the benefit of vitreous surgery in preventing full-thickness macular holes in patients with impending (stage 1) macular holes.


A prospective randomized multicenter clinical trial was conducted on patients with full-thickness macular holes in their first eye (stage 3 or 4) and signs and symptoms of stage 1 macular holes in their fellow eye (study eye). The study eye was randomized to vitreous surgery or observation. Outcome was assessed by standardized measurement of visual acuity, detailed clinical examination, fundus photographs, and fluorescein angiography.


A full-thickness macular hole developed in 10 (37%) of 27 patients in the vitrectomy group compared with 14 (40%) of 35 patients randomized to observation (P = 0.81). This difference of 3% has a 95% confidence interval of (-21%, 27%).


The study was terminated because of low recruitment. The authors were unable to prove (or disprove) the benefit of vitreous surgery in patients with stage 1 macular holes. The authors can state, however, that should a beneficial effect from vitrectomy exist, it would probably be minimal. Considering the cost and morbidity of vitreous surgery, a conservative approach for stage 1 macular hole might be appropriate.

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