Reply: 'Myopic foveoschisis: An ectatic retinopathy, not a schisis'

R. Gohil, S. Sivaprasad, L.T. Han, R. Mathew, G. Kiousis, Yang Yit

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter, comment/opinion or interviewpeer-review


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We thank Tsilimbaris et al1 for their comments on the appropriateness of the term ‘myopic foveoschisis’ to describe the condition that is characterized by the separation of neural retina layers associated with high myopia and posterior staphyloma. They have proposed the term ‘myopic ectatic retinopathy’ as a more literal and functionally more accurate descriptor of the condition to avoid the use of the word ‘schisis’, which may be misleading because it is also used to describe other conditions where there is separation of neural retina layers without the presence of staphyloma.2
Using the word ‘ectatic’ for this condition would imply that we are fairly certain about the pathogenesis and mechanistic factors that underlie its development and progression. However, this is not the case, unfortunately, as our review of the literature has shown. There are several theories ranging from vitreous traction to sclerosing changes of retinal vessels to progression of staphylomas as possible etiological factors. Therefore, it is likely to be multifactorial in nature—hence the success reported with different procedures that address either the vitreous traction factor using vitrectomy, peel plus tamponade or the scleral ectasia factor using posterior buckling techniques. In the absence of a good understanding of underlying pathogenesis, it is probably best to use purely descriptive names rather than mechanistic terms. The use of descriptive terms, even though similar, do not necessarily cause confusion as long as they are widely accepted as differentiating terminology, for example, postoperative pseudophakic cystoid macular edema (Irvine–Gass syndrome) vs cystoid macular edema associated with posterior uveitis in a phakic patient. The introduction of too many mechanistic or pathogenetic terms in the absence of clear understating of etiology can in fact cause more confusion, for example, serous chorioretinopathy vs central serous retinopathy vs serous choroidopathy. The confinement to broad descriptive terms can enhance communication and reduce confusion without committing to any presumption about etiology until it is better understood. This approach is probably best illustrated by the recent advances in the understanding of mactel21, a condition initially described and classified, using descriptive nomenclature, by Don Gass as bilateral, idiopathic acquired juxtafoveolar telangiectasis (Group2A) and as distinctly different from unilateral, congenital parafoveolar telangiectasis (Group 1A; Gass,3 pp 504–506 vs 127–128).
Finally, it is worthy to note that for myopic foveoschisis associated with a staphyloma that is associated with outer layer macular detachment, Don Gass also descriptively included the additional observation (before the advent of OCT) that the retinal profile was concave rather than convex in shape, thereby differentiating it from rhegmatogenous detachments with recruitment of subretinal fluid that is associated with posteriorly located breaks and macular holes in myopic eyes.
1.Tsilimbaris MK, Vavvas DG, Bechrakis NE. Myopic foveoschisis: an ectatic retinopathy, not aschisis. Eye 2016; 30: 328–329.
2.Powner MB, Gillies MC, Tretiach M, Scott A, Guymer RH, Hageman GS et al. Perifoveal müller cell depletion in a case of macular telangiectasia type 2. Ophthalmology 2010; 117(12): 2407–2416.
3.Gass DM. Stereoscopic Atlas of Macular Diseases: Diagnosis and Treatment, 4th edn. Mosby-Yearbook: St. Louis, 1997.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-330
Number of pages2
Issue number2
Early online date20 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016


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