Lacquer cracks following laser treatment of choroidal neovascularization in pathologic myopia

Daniel A. Johnson, Lawrence A. Yannuzzi, Jeffrey L. Shakin, David A. Lightman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Background: Lacquer cracks are breaks in the retinal pigment epithelial- Bruch's membrane-choriocapillaris complex and are manifestations of pathologic myopia. Progressive posterior segment elongation, uveal scleral thinning, and retinal pigment epithelial degeneration are thought to create a predisposition for crack formation in these eyes. In turn, choroidal neovascularization (CNV) may develop within the cracks to produce disciform scarring of the macula. This study examined lacquer cracks as a possible consequence of laser photocoagulation of CNV. Methods: From the files of two retinal referral practices, five patients were located in whom lacquer cracks developed or expanded after laser photocoagulation for macular CNV in pathologic myopia. The mean age of the patients was 54.8 years. Four patients were treated with krypton red laser and one with an argon laser. Laser settings were available for only one of the patients. Results: After laser photocoagulation, lacquer cracks were noted to expand in one or two directions from the laser scar between 10 days and 3 months of the treatment. The cracks also served as a pathway for progressive or recurrent neovascularization. Conclusions: Although lacquer cracks occur spontaneously in pathologic myopia, expansion, elongation, or simple development of a crack may occur as a result of laser photocoagulation of CNV. The new cracks also serve as a potential risk for recurrent neovascularization. This potential adverse complication should be considered in the management of CNV in pathologic myopia with laser treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-124
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Bruch's membrane
  • Choroidal neovascularization
  • Complications
  • Lacquer cracks
  • Laser photocoagulation
  • Pathologic myopia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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