The retina is the layer of light-sensitive tissue that lines the back of the eye, and the macula is the center portion of the retina. If the macula develops a problem, it can affect central vision while leaving peripheral vision intact. As a result, objects in the center of the visual field can appear blurry or distorted (i.e., straight lines look wavy); there may be blind spots in a portion of the central vision as well.
A macular hole is a tear in the macula. The visual effects of a macular hole are similar to macular degeneration; but unlike macular degeneration, which cannot be cured, macular holes can be treated, especially when caught early on.
Understanding Macular Holes
The eye is filled with a clear vitreous gel that gives the eye its shape. Over time, the vitreous liquifies and separates from the retina at the back of the eye. As it separates, it can tug on the macula; occasionally, a membrane can form on the retina that tugs on the macula, too. This tugging can lead to a hole in the macula.
Symptoms of Macular Holes
Symptoms of a macular hole may include the following:
- Grey, black, or blank areas in central vision
- Blurred or distorted images
- Increased difficulties with close-up work such as reading or focusing on a face
If you have developed a macular hole in one eye there is a 10 to 15 percent chance you will develop one in the other as well. Your risks for this will be discussed in greater detail during your treatment consultation at our San Diego offices.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of a macular hole, please contact California Retina Associates to schedule an examination today. Early diagnosis leads to the best chances of treating the condition and preserving clear vision.
Treating Macular Holes
Around 50 percent of macular holes will progress to the point where treatment is necessary. The best way to determine if treatment is important to preserve your vision is through an examination with one of our experienced eye surgeons.
Macular holes are usually treated with vitrectomy, the same surgical procedure used to treat retinal detachment. This procedure will not require an overnight stay in the hospital, but will necessitate some physical limitations for a short time during recovery.
The vitrectomy procedure entails removing vitreous gel and replacing it with a saline solution, gas, or silicone oil. If there is a membrane tugging on the macula, that can be removed too. This approach closes the macular hole. Following your procedure, you will be provided with an eye patch and special instructions to help reduce complications. These will include some physical limitations, though most people are able to resume working and similar activities within 24 to 48 hours of their vitrectomy.
Contact California Retina Associates
The treatment option or combination is best for you will be determined by a member of our San Diego macular hole treatment team. To schedule a consultation with one of our California retina specialists, please call or email us today.
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