To identify early and late retinal nerve fiber layer thickness (RNFLT) modification after internal limiting membrane peeling for idiopathic macular hole or epiretinal membrane and to correlate RNFLT to visual field indices.
Single-center, prospective, interventional consecutive case series. Complete ophthalmic examination, fundus images, and spectral domain optical coherence tomography were performed in 30 eyes of 30 patients before and 1, 3, and 6 months after surgery. Six peripapillary sectors (superotemporal, temporal, inferotemporal, inferonasal, nasal, superonasal) and global RNFLT were evaluated. Visual field was performed preoperatively and 6 months postoperatively.
Significant RNFLT modification was found after surgery (P < 0.0001). Specifically, RNFLT significantly increased in all, but the temporal sectors, 1 month after surgery, and it returned to preoperative values at the third month. Six months after surgery, RNFLT was lower than basal values in the superotemporal, inferotemporal, and temporal sectors (P < 0.001, P < 0.05, and P < 0.001, respectively) with an average reduction of 18.2 ± 9.8 µm. No correlation was found between RNFLT and the visual field indices.
The diffuse RNFLT increase 1 month postoperatively could be because of inflammatory responses. The reduction of RNFLT in the temporal sectors 6 months postoperatively could indicate damage to the macular retinal nerve fiber layer caused by internal limiting membrane peeling.