RATIONALE: Lamellar macular hole (LMH) comprises a partial-thickness defect of the macula, the central part of the neural retina. Classification of LMHs into degenerative and tractional types has been proposed based on macular morphology observed on optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging. Although LMHs are assumed to develop from aborted full-thickness macular holes, the clinical course of LMH development is not fully understood. PATIENT CONCERNS: A 67-year-old man noticed slight changes in his central vision, and exhibited gradual change in macular morphology. DIAGNOSIS: The patient was first diagnosed with macular hole, which closed spontaneously. He then developed an LMH. INTERVENTIONS: The patient was placed under observation. OUTCOMES: The patient first exhibited a macular hole, which resolved spontaneously. However, the tractional force at the surface of the macula became more severe, thereby causing retinoschisis-like appearance, which is the characteristic finding of a tractional LMH. The same eye then developed a lamellar hole-associated epiretinal proliferation (LHEP)-like structure, which is often observed in a degenerative LMH; importantly, the retinoschisis-like appearance persisted. Finally, the macula formed a typical degenerative LMH, characterized by intraretinal cavitation with persistent LHEP and disappearance of the retinoschisis-like structure. LESSONS: The present report shows dynamic changes of neural retinal morphology during development of an LMH: a tractional LMH developed initially; it then transformed into a degenerative LMH, which comprises a neurodegenerative disease. The findings in this report may help to understand the pathogenesis of LMHs and to elucidate the neurodegenerative disease process in various fields.
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