What is a Macular Hole?
The macula is an anatomic term that refers to the central area of the retina. The macula is responsible for the sharp and direct vision needed for activities such as reading, driving or recognizing fine details. A macular hole is a small break in the tissues of the macula. It is believed that the hole is the result of abnormal traction on the macula. The traction may be the result of abnormal adhesion of the vitreous gel to the macula. The vitreous is a clear substance that fills the back portion of the eye. As people age it degenerates and may separate from the retina. During this separation, abnormal adhesion at the macula may case creation of a hole. Another cause of traction is a membrane that covers the retinal surface that may contract and cause the hole formation.
A macular hole results in blurred or distorted central vision. The symptoms may only be noticeable when the other “good” eye is covered allowing the presence of the blurring to become apparent.
The treatment of a macular hole involves surgery to remove the traction on the retina. Please refer to the surgical treatments tab for more information.
Recovery from surgery
The recovery from macular hole surgery is typically the most difficult component to treatment. At the end of the surgery a gas bubble is placed in the eye to replace the gel that was removed during surgery. For the bubble to function properly in reforming the macular anatomy a patient must maintain a position with the face down toward the floor. This allows the gas bubble to rise to the back of the eye. Imagine the bubble rising and “pushing” the tissues around the hole together to reconnect and close the hole. A special chair may be leased to facilitate the face down positioning. The positioning must be maintained for a majority of the time for five days following surgery. You may discuss this further with your physician when planning for surgery.
If you are in the Austin, Round Rock, Pflugerville and Cedar Park areas and you are experiencing the symptoms of a macular hole, contact retina specialist Dr. Stephen Smith today to schedule a consultation at Central Texas Retina.