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Macular hole size as a prognostic factor in macular hole surgery
  1. S Ullrich,
  2. C Haritoglou,
  3. C Gass,
  4. M Schaumberger,
  5. M W Ulbig,
  6. A Kampik
  1. Department of Ophthalmology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany
  1. Correspondence to: Professor Dr A Kampik, Department of Ophthalmology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Mathildenstrasse 8, D-80336 München, Germany; Anselm.Kampik{at}


Background/aim: In 1991 there was a series of successful closures of a macular hole after vitrectomy and membrane peeling. Today this technique has become a standard procedure. The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of optical coherence tomography in diagnosing and staging, as well as in predicting, the functional and anatomical outcome after macular hole surgery.

Method: In a prospective study 94 consecutive patients (20 male, 74 female) with a mean age of 67.6 (SD 6.0) years and a macular hole stage II (n = 8), III (n = 72), and IV (n = 14) according to the classification by Gass were examined with optical coherence tomography (OCT) before pars plana vitrectomy. Macular hole diameters were determined at the level of the retinal pigment epithelium (base diameter) and at the minimal extent of the hole (minimum diameter). Calculated hole form factor (HFF) was correlated with the postoperative anatomical success rate and best corrected visual acuity. The duration of symptoms was correlated with base and minimum diameter of the macular hole.

Results: In eyes without anatomical closure of the macular hole after one surgical approach (13/94) the base diameter (p1) and the minimum diameter (p2) were significantly larger than in cases with immediate postsurgical closure (p1 = 0.003; p2 = 0.028). There was a significant negative correlation between both the base and the minimum diameter of the hole and the postoperative visual function (p1 = 0.016; p2 = 0.002). In all patients with HFF >0.9 the macular hole was closed following one surgical procedure, whereas in eyes with HFF <0.5 anatomical success rate was 67%. Better postoperative visual outcome correlated with higher HFF (p = 0.050). There was no significant correlation between the duration of symptoms and base or minimum diameters (p1 = 0.053; p2 = 0.164), respectively.

Conclusion: Preoperative measurement of macular hole size with OCT can provide a prognostic factor for postoperative visual outcome and anatomical success rate of macular hole surgery. The duration of symptoms did not correlate with the diameters measured. Base and minimum diameters especially seem to be of predictive value in macular hole surgery.

  • macular hole
  • optical coherence tomography
  • vitrectomy

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  • Financial interest: none.