Objective: This study aimed to examine the characteristics of intraretinal changes associated with macular holes and epiretinal membranes by scanning retinal thickness analysis. Study Design: The study design was a nonconsecutive case series. Patients: Fifty-six eyes of patients who had either a suspected or clinically diagnosed macular hole or epiretinal membrane were recruited. Interventions: A commercial prototype of the scanning retinal thickness analyzer (RTA) was used. It projected a laser slit beam onto the retina and scanned it, in 200 or 400 msec, across a 2- x 2-mm area, yielding multiple optical cross sections that were recorded digitally. Results: Epiretinal membranes were detected, and sites of attachment could be identified. Full-thickness holes corresponded to intraretinal cavities in which the inner retinal surface was broken, usually at the center. The majority of eyes with full-thickness macular holes showed increased retinal thickness surrounding the hole. The so-called 'cuff of subretinal fluid,' however, often was not present by retinal thickness analysis, despite clinical diagnosis to the contrary, even though retinal thickness analysis is capable of detecting such fluid. In 20 (42%) of 47 eyes diagnosed or suspected of having macular holes, scanning retinal thickness analysis showed findings different from those reported by retinal specialists. Conclusions: Examination of macular holes with the scanning RTA provides useful information in the diagnosis of macular holes in addition to that obtained through conventional techniques. The findings support the idea that many macular holes develop in association with intraretinal cystic changes. The precise chronology of the events remains to be determined.
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