A hole in the macula, the tiny oval area made up of millions of nerve cells located at the center of the retina responsible for sharp, central vision.
The eye contains a jelly-like substance called the vitreous. Shrinking of the vitreous usually causes the hole. As a person ages, the vitreous becomes thicker and stringier and begins to pull away from the retina. If the vitreous is firmly attached to the retina when it pulls away, a hole can result.
The size of the hole and its location on the retina determine how much it affects vision. Generally, people notice a slight distortion or reduction in their eyesight. However, if the hole goes all the way through the macula, you can lose a lot of your central vision and therefore your detailed fine vision.
A surgical procedure called vitrectomy is often used to treat holes that go all the way through the macula. The vitreous is removed to prevent it from pulling on the retina. It is replaced with a gas bubble that eventually fills with natural fluids. Following surgery, patients must usually keep their faces down for two or three weeks. This position allows the bubble to press against the macula and seal the hole.
Vitrectomy can lead to complications, most commonly an increase in how fast cataracts develop. Other less common complications include infection and retinal detachment during surgery or afterwards.
Vitrectomy is about 90% effective in closing the hole. However, improvement in people’s vision is more variable. More than half of those who have the surgery can expect an improvement of two lines or more on the vision chart.
Very few people get a macular hole in the second eye. A macular hole may also be called a macular cyst, retinal hole, retinal tear, or retinal perforation.
- Macular pucker
Scar tissue in the macula, the area of the retina responsible for sharp central vision. The scar can blur and distort vision and make straight lines appear wavy. Macular pucker is due most often to age-related shrinkage of the vitreous which pulls away from the retina, causing the retina to scar and wrinkle. Other causes […]
- Macular retinopathy
Any pathologic condition or disease of the macula, the small spot in the retina where vision is keenest. Also called maculopathy.
- Macular vision
The macula is a special area in the center of the retina, the light-sensitive layer of tissue at the back of the eye. As we read, light is focused onto our macula. There, millions of cells change the light into nerve signals that tell the brain what we are seeing. This is called our macular […]
A circumscribed change in the color of skin that is neither raised nor depressed. Macules are completely flat and can only be appreciated by visual inspection and not by touch. Physicians refer to flat skin spots on the skin as macules, as opposed to papules.
Small circumscribed changes in the color of skin that are neither raised (elevated) nor depressed. Macules are never large. They are basically little spots or blemishes in the skin. They are entirely flat and can only be appreciated by visual inspection; they cannot be seen from the side. Dermatologists call small flat skin spots on […]