What causes a macular hole?
The macula is the central part of your retina (the light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye). A hole occurs when the vitreous (the gel filling your eye) works to pull the macula. Symptoms include a decrease in vision and distortion of seen objects.
How is the macular hole treated?
The macular hole can be treated with an outpatient operation performed with local anesthesia. A vitrectomy (literally meaning: cutting the vitreous) is performed and a temporary bubble of gas is injected to close the hole. While the gas bubble is present, airplane flights or travel above 3,000 feet above sea level should be avoided.
How successful is the operation?
The operation closes the macular hole 80 to 90% of the time, and vision is improved in most of the successful cases. If the patient’s own lens is present, this operation will likely cause clouding of the lens, a cataract, which will require another operation. Of course, as with any other operation, severe and rare complications, such as infection or bleeding, can permanently decrease vision.
What if nothing is done or the operation is not successful?
As time passes, the hole can increase in size, with some further decrease in vision. However, the vision typically stabilizes, and total blindness is not expected.