MACULAR HOLE

A small opening causing a blind spot or blurred vision




Condition

A macular hole is a small opening in the macula that causes a blind spot or blurred area in the central vision. When the vitreous, the gel-like substance inside the eye, ages and shrinks, it can pull on the macula and cause a tear. The tear can eventually develop into a hole. Injury or long-term swelling can also cause a hole in the macula.

conditions_macular_hole_1A macular hole is a small opening in the central tissue of the retina called the macula. This area is responsible for our central vision.




Risk factors

Risk factors for the development of macular holes include: aging, trauma, or previous macular hole in the other eye.

Symptoms

Macular holes often begin gradually. In the early stage of a macular hole, people may notice a slight distortion or blurriness in their straight-ahead vision. Straight lines or objects can begin to look bent or wavy.

Treatment

Vitrectomy surgery, the only treatment for a macular hole, removes the vitreous gel and scar tissue that is keeping the hole open. The procedure then fills the eye with an air bubble to push against the macula and close the hole. The air bubble will eventually dissolve, but the patient must maintain a face down position for one to two weeks to maintain the air bubble’s pressure on the macula. Treatment success usually depends on how well the position is maintained.

After treatment, macular holes usually shrink and some of the lost vision is gradually regained. The amount of visual restoration tends to depend on the length of time the hole was present. Vitrectomy surgery does not completely restore vision. Some people with normal vision in the other eye decide against surgery.