Development of a full thickness macular hole after vitrectomy for rhegmatogenous retinal detachment: a sequential study via optical coherence tomography
To demonstrate a full thickness macular hole (MH) development after vitrectomy (VT) for rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (RRD) and to investigate the possible disease mechanism with optical coherence tomography (OCT).
A 47-year-old female underwent 23G vitrectomy surgery to repair the macula-detached RRD successfully. However, intraretinal cysts initially developed two months after surgery. Cysts gradually increased in number and size, and cystoid macular edema was noted at the 5th month. Thereafter, inner retina dehiscence and a lamellar macular hole developed. The lamellar hole further dehisced and progressed into a full-thickness MH at the 10th month. The patient then received 23G vitrectomy and internal limiting membrane peeling surgery. OCT and fundus picture showed macular hole sealed 10 days afterward.
The mechanism of secondary MH included tangential traction, cystoid degeneration of macula, and glial migration. The sequential OCT studies provide evidence to support the disease mechanism of cystoid degeneration of the macula.
Optical coherence tomography
Rhegmatogenous retinal detachment
Idiopathic macular hole(MH) was believed to be caused by tangential traction of the posterior hyaloid on the parafoveal area. However, MH development after rhgematogenous retinal detachment(RRD) surgery was rare and the mechanism was not well understood. We reported a case of MH formation after pars plana vitrectomy(VT) for RRD. A complete sequential OCT was performed and supported one proposed mechanism from previous literature. To the best of our knowledge, the following is the first reported case in the literature.
Secondary MH formation following RRD repair surgery was first documented in 1988 . This rare phenomenon carried prevalence varying from 0.32 to 0.96% . Macular-off RRD and repeated surgery for RRD seemed to be important risk factors of this phenomenon [2, 3].
The mechanism of secondary MH included tangential traction, cystoid degeneration of macula, and glial migration.
Tangential traction caused by PVD , residual vitreous, and ERM were thought to cause anteroposterior traction of the macula, and lead to MH. However, there were cases of MH formation without evidence of posterior cortical vitreous traction after VT for RRD  and even after ERM removal. Thus, tangential traction may not the only factor of secondary MH formation.
Macular cystoid degeneration was proposed as subtle break of internal limiting membrane resulted in hydration of fovea in RRD. Following reattachment of the macula, the edematous retina was then stretched and weakened, leading to MH . Byon et al. assumed previous PVD and macular-off RD causing fragility of foveal tissue, and following phagocytosis of damaged foveal tissue results in MH formation . In the present case, a serial OCT before MH formation was well-documented. Intraretinal cysts initially developed 2 months after RRD repair. Cysts increased in number and size were noted in the following five months. Thereafter, inner retina dehiscence and a lamellar macular hole developed. The lamellar hole further dehisced and progressed into a full-thickness MH at the 10th month. We speculated that macula-off retinal detachment leads to ischemic change and fragility of retinal tissue. Cystoid degeneration with intraretinal edema follows, and then the damaged photoreceptors are phagocytosed by retinal pigmented epithelium. The empty neurosensory space of retina results in macular hole formation. The successive OCT observation in our case supported the pathogenetic mechanism of macular cystoid degeneration theory.
Glial migration may contribute to MH formation as inflammation due to RD can activate glial cell. Afterward, there is glial migration and proliferation followed by contraction of glial plaque surrounding macular area. Then the edges of the umbo dehiscence are pulled outward, finally resulting in MH [4, 5]. Nevertheless, more studies should be provided to prove this speculation.
We conclude that the sequential OCT provided a non-invasive and useful tool for confirmation of diagnosis, understanding of pathogenesis, and serial anatomical evaluation of MH development after VT for RRD.
CSY was involved in the design of the study, interpretation of the data and the final revision of the manuscript. HYY collected the patient data, reviewed literature and drafted the manuscript. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Ethics approval and consent to participate
Consent for publication
Informed consent was obtained from the patient for publication of this case report and any accompanying images.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
- 1.Brown GC. Macular hole following rhegmatogenous retinal detachment repair. Arch Ophthalmol. 1988;106(6):765–6. https://doi.org/10.1001/archopht.1988.01060130835034.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.