What is a macular hole?

Have you been diagnosed with a macular hole? It sounds pretty frightening, but macular holes are actually fairly common, and they can be treated very successfully once the problem is discovered. Read on to find out what macular holes are, how they are treated, and why they really aren’t as scary as they sound.

Macular holes

The macula is located in the center of the tissue that lines the back of the eye, which is called the “retina.” The jelly-like substance that makes up the middle of the eye, the vitreous, is attached to the retina. If the vitreous shrinks, which is often just a normal part of aging, it pulls away from the retina, which can stretch the macula and tear it, creating a macular hole.

If you have a macular hole, you may have sudden difficulty reading, and your vision may start to seem wavy or may start to blur when you look directly at something (no matter how far or near you are trying to see). However, your side (peripheral) vision may still be fine. You may have a dark spot in the middle of your field of view. Macular holes are typically only in one eye. Besides aging, other causes of macular holes are eye injury and eye disease.

How are macular holes treated?

In the best case scenario, macular holes will fix themselves. Often, however, it takes a surgical procedure to correct the problem. This procedure takes less than an hour and can be done using light sedation. The vitreous is removed, and a gas bubble is injected into the eye. This bubble keeps the macula and the retina from moving, which will allow the hole to heal. The gas bubble will harmlessly evaporate on its own.

Your doctor will have very specific instructions for your recovery, which may include staying face down for a few days after the procedure.

If you are having problems seeing, it may be a macular hole – or something else. It is important to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor if your vision suddenly gets worse, but it’s also important to see your eye doctor for annual exams. Call Southside Eye Care at (757) 484-0101 for an appointment today!

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