What You Need To Know
A macular hole, as you might suspect, is a tear or opening in your macula (say MACK-you-la). The macula is the part of your retina at the back of your eye responsible for your central vision and your ability to make out fine details and faces. You need good central vision so you can read, drive and see fine details, so keeping this part of the eye healthy is really important.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
When a hole forms in the macula, objects in the center of your vision will start to look distorted, blurry or wavy. As the hole gets bigger, you will develop a ‘blind spot’ or a dark spot in the center of your vision. A macular hole does not affect your side (peripheral) vision.
As with any unexplained changes in your vision, if you experience any of these symptoms, please see your eye professional immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment.
WHO IS AT RISK?
Age is the biggest risk factor for developing a macular hole. As you get older, the vitreous, a jelly-like substance that fills the interior of your eye, begins to shrink and pull away from the retina. Usually, this does not cause any problems. But sometimes, the vitreous can stick to the retina, so when it begins to pull away, it causes the macula to stretch, then tear to form a hole.
Other eye disorders can cause swelling of the macula and this can sometimes cause a hole to appear. Macular holes can also occasionally be caused by an eye injury.
HOW IS A MACULAR HOLE TREATED?
The best way to treat a macular hole is with a type of eye surgery known as a vitrectomy. Our Retinal Specialist, Dr. David W. Switzer Jr., will first remove the vitreous that is pulling on the macula. He will then put a gas bubble inside your eye which will help to flatten the macular hole and hold it in place while your eye is healing. The gas bubble will slowly go away on its own.
Patients who have this surgery must remain in a face down position after the procedure to keep the gas bubble in position pressing against the macula. This face down position has to be maintained for at least a day or two and but sometimes it’s necessary to maintain it for as long as two to three weeks. This can be difficult for some patients, so you may want to discuss this with Dr. Switzer before having the surgery. For some months after the surgery, you will not be