The macula is the light sensitive tissue inside the human eye that allows us to see fine details in our central vision. When a hole forms in the macula, it is known as a macular hole. This results in significant decline of the central vision. Macular holes can happen to anyone but occur much more often in older adults.
Is a Macular Hole the Same as Macular Degeneration?
No. Macular holes and age-related macular degeneration are two different vision problems, though they each may present with similar symptoms and are frequently seen in adults aged 60 and older. Consult with your eye doctor for an accurate diagnosis.
Causes of Macular Holes
The exact cause of macular holes is unknown, but age-related changes are a contributing factor. As a person ages, the eye’s vitreous may not pull away from the macula as it should. When this happens, the macula may weaken, causing a hole to form. Other contributing factors include trauma, inflammatory or genetic diseases, retinal detachment, and changes in the vitreous or retina.
“The vitreous is the gel-like fluid that fills your eye. It’s full of tiny fibers that attach to your retina (the light-sensitive layer of tissue at the back of the eye). As you get older, the fibers of your vitreous pull away from the retina.” – National Eye Institute
Symptoms of Macular Holes
A macular hole typically causes central, progressive vision loss. Other symptoms may include changes in color vision, blurred vision, distorted vision, and a dark spot in the center of your sight. In some cases, straight lines may appear wavy or distorted.
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should notify your eye care provider immediately so they can determine if you have a macular hole. Louisiana Retina can typically provide same-day or next-day appointments in the case of emergencies.
Treatment for Macular Holes
Treatment for macular holes involves a surgical procedure called vitrectomy. Vitrectomy is a tried-and-tested approach to treating macular holes, with a success rate of over 90-95%. During this procedure, your retina specialist will repair the hole by using a gas bubble to close the gap until it heals shut.
While the procedure is complex and carries a small surgical risk, most patients have a favorable outcome and experience several lines of visual improvement on average.
Unfortunately, it is generally not possible to prevent macular holes from developing. However, you can reduce your risk by wearing protective eyewear for sports and by scheduling regular eye exams, eating a healthy diet that is low in sugar, avoiding smoking, and using sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV rays.
Seek Macular Hole Treatment at Louisiana Retina
Macular holes can cause vision loss, but it is possible to restore vision and prevent further damage with macular hole surgery. It’s vital to seek medical care sooner rather than later if you experience any symptoms associated with macular holes.
Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for the best possible outcome. Our team of board-certified ophthalmologists specializes in retina care and macular hole treatment. Contact us to schedule an appointment at our Baton Rouge or Denham Springs locations.