Visual outcome of patients with macular edema after pars plana vitrectomy and indocyanine green-assisted peeling of the internal limiting membrane



To evaluate the efficacy of inner limiting membrane (ILM) peeling in persistent macular edema.


This retrospective review analyzed a series of 23 eyes from 23 patients with persistent macular edema treated by pars plana vitrectomy (PPV) with indocyanine green (ICG)-assisted peeling of the ILM. Thirteen female and 10 male patients with a mean age of 57.2±15.6 (24–77) years underwent operation between May 2000 and October 2001. The main diagnoses were uveitis (anterior, intermediate, posterior and panuveitis) (n=9), central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO) (n=4), diabetic retinopathy (DR) (n=5), vitreoretinal traction syndrome (n=2), and Irvine–Gass syndrome (n=3). Nine eyes had undergone phacoemulsification (PE) previously and two eyes had been subjected to combined PE and ILM peeling. The eyes were tamponaded with gas (3), silicone oil (5) or air (11). In four cases no endotamponade was used. Improvement in visual acuity of 2 lines or more was regarded as significant.


Visual acuity improved after 3 months in 9 of the 23 patients. After 6 months and at the follow-up, a significant improvement was found in 6/21 and 7/21 patients. This improvement was predominantly seen in patients with uveitis (5/9), or diabetic maculopathy (3/5); One patient with Irvine–Gass syndrome showed a significant reduction, one with vitreoretinal traction an improvement in visual acuity. The group of patients with CRVO showed no significant change during the follow-up. The choice of endotamponade did not alter the visual acuity outcome.


Different patient groups respond differently to ILM peeling. Although overall significant visual acuity improvement was observed in only one third of all cases 12 months after ILM peeling for persistent macular edema, patients with uveitis and nonproliferative diabetic maculopathy demonstrated a benefit. The lack of long-term improvement in the majority of cases is in accordance with the hypothesis that ILM peeling may reduce the intraretinal edema, but does not affect the underlying mechanism causing macular edema. So far, only diabetics have shown improvement (still unproven) from ILM peeling, and this study provides no justification for extending the treatment to macular edema of other causes. Large-scale investigations are needed to evaluate the efficacy in certain diagnosis groups.

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We thank the Kämpgen Stiftung, Köln, and Köln Fortune for financial support.

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Correspondence to Antonia M. Joussen.

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This study was presented in part at the 100th meeting of the German Ophthalmological Society in Berlin, September 2002

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Radetzky, S., Walter, P., Fauser, S. et al. Visual outcome of patients with macular edema after pars plana vitrectomy and indocyanine green-assisted peeling of the internal limiting membrane. Graefe's Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol 242, 273–278 (2004).

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  • Visual Acuity
  • Diabetic Retinopathy
  • Uveitis
  • Macular Edema
  • Diabetic Macular Edema