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Purpose: To evaluate ultrahigh resolution optical coherence tomography (UHR OCT) for visualization of intraretinal layers, especially the photoreceptor inner segment and outer segment layers, in eyes with macular holes and after surgical intervention.

Methods: An UHR OCT system based on a titanium:sapphire laser was used, enabling in vivo cross-sectional retinal imaging with 3-[mu]m axial resolution. Typical, representative tomograms of 5 of 48 eyes from 36 patients demonstrated the potential of UHR OCT to detect morphologic changes in different stages of full-thickness macular holes and changes induced by surgical intervention.

Results: UHR OCT could detect subtle intraretinal changes in macular hole formation. Unprecedented visualization of photoreceptor impairment was achieved that appeared to be more extensive than the hole itself. Postoperatively, clinically closed holes showed restoration of the photoreceptor inner and outer segment layers of various extents, with residual disease in some eyes.

Conclusion: In macular holes, UHR OCT allows for detection of even small morphologic changes of the retinal layers, especially the photoreceptor inner and outer segment layers. Therefore, it also represents a superior method to monitor the effect of surgical interventions. Preoperative photoreceptor impairment and the degree of postoperative restoration could possibly be associated with visual function. Hence, UHR OCT could lead to better understanding of macular hole pathogenesis and to more accurate disease prognosis.

(C) The Ophthalmic Communications Society, Inc.