PURPOSE: To investigate the anatomic and visual outcomes in patients with initial anatomic success after macular hole surgery and with at least 5 years of follow-up. DESIGN: Retrospective, noncomparative, consecutive case series. METHODS: Medical records of all patients who underwent surgery for idiopathic full-thickness macular holes by two surgeons (W.E.S., H.W.F.) at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute between January 1, 1991, and December 31, 1996, were reviewed. All patients who had initial anatomic success with macular hole surgery and who had 5 years or more of follow-up postoperatively were included in the study. Main outcome measures included the rate of macular hole reopening and visual acuity outcomes. RESULTS: Seventy-four eyes of 66 patients with a median age of 68.0 years (range, 45.0-86.8 years) were identified. The median duration of macular hole was 6.0 months (range, 1.1-93.8 months), and the median duration of follow-up after macular hole surgery was 91.0 months (range, 60.0 to 114.8 months). The hole reopened in 9 eyes (12%) during the follow-up interval; 6 of these eyes underwent reoperation, and the hole closed in 4 of 6 (67%). Preoperative visual acuity ranged from 20/50 to 20/400 (mean, 20/129; median, 20/100). In the 62 eyes that underwent cataract extraction (CE) after macular hole surgery, CE was performed at a median of 13.9 months after macular hole surgery. Patients achieved their best postoperative visual acuity at a median of 28.5 months after macular hole surgery. Best postoperative visual acuity ranged from 20/20 to 20/400 (mean, 20/36; median, 20/30). Visual acuity at last follow-up ranged from 20/25 to counting fingers (mean, 20/56; median, 20/40). At last follow-up, 43 eyes (58%) had a visual acuity of 20/40 or better, and 57 (77%) had an improvement in visual acuity of 3 or more Snellen lines compared with their preoperative acuity. CONCLUSIONS: Macular hole closure and visual acuity improvement after initially successful macular hole surgery persist at follow-up of 5 years and longer in the majority of patients; delayed visual acuity improvement is not attributable to cataract surgery alone.
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