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What is a macular hole?

By admin | Sep 01, 2017

The middle of our eye is filled with vitreous gel.  This gel is made up of a 3-Dimensional collagen matrix and a liquid called hyaluronic acid.  As we age, the collagen cross links and slowly pulls away from the back of the eye.  The gel lines several structures including the retina.  If the gel pulls hard, or does no let go of the macula, it can result in a macular hole.  This is the most common cause for why macular holes occur.

A macular hole is a small break in the macula located in the light sensitive tissue called the retina.

Macular Hole_1

The macula is responsible for our detailed vision. When the macula is compromised, our ability to do detailed tasks such as reading, and driving become difficult. Symptoms of a macular hole include blurred and distortion of central vision. Straight lines or objects may look bent or wavy.

Macular Hole2

Normal Vision                                                   Vision with a Macular Hole

Treatment of a macular hole may vary. On a rare occasion, a macular hole can seal itself without the need for treatment or surgery. In most instances, macular holes require the need for surgery to improve vision.  A vitrectomy is performed where the vitreous gel in the eye is removed.  Care is taken to make sure any pulling on the retina is addressed.  Then, a gas bubble is placed in the eye. The gas is used to hold the edges of the hole in place as it heals, similar to how we use a band-aid to seal our cuts.  Face down positioning may be required so that the gas properly presses against the macular hole.

Your ophthalmologist will perform a comprehensive dilated eye exam and a series of diagnostics tests to determine whether you have a macular hole. If you are experiencing sudden changes in your vision, it is important to see your eye care specialist right away. Early detection is crucial in order to ensure the best possible outcome in restoring your vision. Here at Retina Consultants of Boston, we pride ourselves in providing our patients with timely diagnosis in order to provide the best possible treatment options and outcome. We are currently accepting new patients, please call and make an appointment today!

In the interest of maintaining further transparency and providing a wide breadth of information to our patients and providers, this blog will serve as an educational and informative resource on interesting happenings within Retina Consultants of Boston and in the greater field of Ophthalmology.

Here at Retina Consultants of Boston, Dr. John J. Weiter and Dr. Namrata Nandakumar are on the forefront of diagnostic techniques, treatment and micro-surgical techniques for macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, retinal detachments, macular holes, and a number of other issues affecting the vitreous and retina. Check back here frequently for news and updates on our practice and all things retina!