The role of vitreous cortex remnants in proliferative vitreoretinopathy formation demonstrated by histopathology: A case report

Koen A van Overdam, Eelco M Busch, Robert M Verdijk, Claire W A Pennekamp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleProfessionalpeer-review


Purpose: The pathogenesis of proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR), the most important cause of retinal detachment surgery failure, is still not fully understood. We previously hypothesized a causal link between vitreoschisis-induced vitreous cortex remnants (VCR) and PVR formation. The purpose of this case report is to demonstrate this association by showing the clinical occurrence of PVR in the presence of VCR across the retinal surface, illustrated by histopathological analysis.

Observations: A 69-year-old male was referred because of widespread epiretinal membrane formation after treatment of recurrent retinal detachments. During surgery with extensive membrane peeling, a large continuous membrane was peeled from the superior arcade towards the inferior temporal mid-periphery. Histopathological analysis of this membrane revealed areas with different characteristics: paucicellular laminar collagen-rich areas, suggestive for VCR, areas with increased cellularity, and more fibrotic areas with low cellularity.The immunohistochemical analysis identified cell type variety in these areas: collagen-rich areas showed glial cells and hyalocytes, while in areas with high cellularity fibroblasts, macrophages and retinal pigment epithelial cells were found, which have previously been shown to play an important role in the development of PVR as they can transdifferentiate into myofibroblasts, which were seen in the more fibrotic areas.

Conclusions and importance: These findings support the theory that VCR have a role in PVR development, where VCR can act as a scaffold for fibrocellular proliferation. We suggest that the presence of VCR over the retinal surface should be qualified as a risk factor for PVR formation. Detection and adequate removal of VCR may improve the success rate of retinal detachment surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101219
JournalAmerican Journal of Ophthalmology Case Reports
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


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