Macular Hole

Senior man painting

What is the macular hole?

A macular hole is a small break in the macula, located in the center of the eye’s light-sensitive tissue, called the retina. The macula provides the sharp, central vision we need for reading, driving, and seeing fine detail. A macular hole can cause blurry and distorted central vision. Macular holes occur more with aging, usually in people over age 60.

Diagram of macular hole.

As we get older, the vitreous shrinks in size and pulls away from the retina (and macula). We call this a posterior vitreous detachment. Sometimes, the vitreous pulls on the retina too hard and creates a hole in the macula.

What are my treatment options?

When macular holes occur, patients can undergo a vitrectomy, a surgery in which gas is injected and acts like a bandage to keep the hole closed. Lying face down during the procedure allows the gas to push the hole closed. The gas stays in the eyes for up to three months.

Statistically, three quarters of patients will have better vision after surgery. As with all surgeries, the risks, benefits, and alternatives must always be considered.

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