What is a macular hole?

Senior grey-haired woman doing ok gesture with hand smiling The term “macular hole” is a frightening one – but it is a condition that can be treated very successfully. The important thing is to see your doctor right away if you notice a change in your vision. Here are some things you need to know about macular holes and how they are treated.

What are the symptoms of a macular hole?

A macular hole is a tear in the macula, an important part of the eye located in the center of the retina that you need to see clearly. As a macular hole develops, your vision may look blurry or wavy. Because the macula helps to give us clear vision of what is directly in front of us, patients with a macular hole can still have good peripheral vision (side vision). Macular holes are usually only found in one eye.

What causes macular holes?

A macular hole forms when the vitreous (the jelly-like substance that makes up the middle of the eye) shrinks and starts to pull away from the retina, the cells that line the back wall of the eye. The vitreous shrinking is a normal part of aging; however, problems occur when the vitreous sticks to the retina as it starts to shrink, which can stretch the macula and tear it. Macular holes can be caused by eye disease, an eye injury, or they can just be a part of normal aging.

How is a macular hole treated?

Surgery is the best treatment for a macular hole. The vitreous is removed and a gas bubble is put into the eye. This bubble holds the hole in place and gives it a chance to heal, and over time, the gas bubble harmlessly evaporates on its own. After the surgery, your doctor will have specific instructions for you to follow for a successful recovery – this may include staying face down at all times.

If you are having new and sudden problems with your eyes, it is very important to make an appointment with your eye doctor right away. Call North Suburban Eye Associates in Massachusetts for an appointment today, at (781) 245-5200.

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