The macula is a very small area at the center of the retina — a thin layer of light-sensitive tissue that lines the back of the eye – that is responsible for your more detailed vision. As we grow older, the thick vitreous gel in the middle of our eyes shrinks and pulls away from the macula. If the gel sticks to the macula and doesn't pull away, the macular tissue stretches and eventually tears, forming a hole. Symptoms
A macular hole can slightly distort or blur a person’s straight-ahead vision. Lines may appear bent or wavy. Performing detailed tasks can become very difficult for a person with a macular hole. If you notice any of these signs, it is important to see your doctor right away to prevent any vision loss. Causes & Risk Factors
As you age, you are in greater danger for acquiring a macular hole. Some additional risk factors for developing a macular hole include:
- Macular pucker
- Retinal detachment
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Other eye injuries
While some macular holes seal themselves, surgery is necessary in many cases to help improve vision. In a procedure call a vitrectomy, a bubble of air and gas is placed inside the retina to act as a temporary bandage for the hole as it heals. As the bubble is reabsorbed into the eye, natural eye fluids refill the cavity where vitreous fluids were lost. Patients must remain in the face-down position for one or two days so that the bubble is pressed against the macula, which allows for healing.
People who have had a macular hole for less than six months have a better chance of recovering than those who have had it for longer. Vision recovery can take as long as three months after surgery, so it is important to have a thorough discussion with your doctor prior to surgery.