Purpose. To analyze progressive changes of the outer retina after vitrectomy for macular hole (MH) repair. Methods. Nineteen consecutive patients underwent vitrectomy for idiopathic MH. Spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) examinations were performed pre- and postoperatively during follow-up visits at 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months. Active eye-tracking technology ensured that the same scanning location was identified each time. Results. Ten eyes showed a normal external limiting membrane (ELM) at 1 month after surgery and 15 eyes at 3 months. The ELM was already continuous in 79% of the eyes with persistent outer foveal defects during follow-up. No eyes revealed a continuous inner segment/outer segment (IS/OS) line at 1 month, only one eye at 3 months, and 10 eyes at 12 months. No eyes had a disrupted ELM with an intact IS/OS line. Foveal cysts were visible in three eyes at 1 month and in eight eyes during follow-up. The cystic space gradually filled, resulting in a continuous IS/OS line in five of these eyes. Recovery of ELM, IS/OS, and outer nuclear layer (ONL) determined most of visual acuity improvement. The ONL appeared normal in the 10 eyes with an intact IS/OS line at last follow-up. By contrast, it was disrupted in 7 of 9 eyes with a final persistent outer foveal defect. Conclusions. The ELM is the first structure to recover after MH closure. Foveal cysts may develop during follow-up, and in the presence of an intact ONL, they may gradually fill with complete recovery of the IS/OS junction.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience