A macular hole is a common problem diagnosed and treated by the retina specialists of Florida Retina Consultants. Macular hole is also known as “idiopathic” macular hole, that is, science has yet to determine the actual cause of the hole. Macular holes occur perfectly normal eyes.
Interestingly, women are twice as likely to develop a macular compared to men.
The macula, the functional center of the retina, is the most sensitive area of the retina providing us with our sharpest vision (20/20) and best color perception. Most of what we use as “vision” is provided by the macula. The rest of the retina provides peripheral vision.
Symptoms of Macular Hole
For unknown reasons, a stretch hole can develop in the top layer of the retina. This directly affects the central vision.
Patients may experience progressive blurriness and distortion over weeks or months. Left untreated, vision of a macular hole will never lead to blindness. Legal blindness, defined as vision less than 20/200, is common.
Diagnosis of Macular Hole
There are several way to diagnose a macular hole.
Diagnosis starts with a dilated eye exam where the pupils are dilated to allow our retina specialists to directly examine the retina.
Fundus photographs, fluorescein angiography and OCT (optical coherence tomography) are often used in conjunction with a dilated eye exam to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment of Macular Hole
Surgery is highly successful in treating or “closing” a macular hole. Various techniques are utilized by our retina specialized to fix macular holes.
Vitrectomy, the principle surgical technique of a retina specialist, can be used with or without gas to repair the superficial hole in the retina.
In cases where intraocular gas is used, face down head positioning may be necessary for a short time after surgery to help with the healing process.
With successful surgery, useful vision is often restored.