26th Apr, 2019

Is a macular hole the result of macular degeneration?

Is a macular hole the result of macular degeneration?

San Diego macular degeneration treatment

The macula is the most crucial part of the retina, because it provides the detailed central vision necessary for many daily tasks. Damage to the macula affects a person’s ability to read, recognize faces, and do other daily activities.

People who have problems with the macula may experience distortion in the central area of their vision, meaning that straight lines appear wavy or crooked. They may also have blurry or dark areas in this part of the visual field.

There are several different causes of damage to the macula. Macular degeneration (also known as age-related macular degeneration, or AMD) is the most common cause, but there are also others. Although a macular hole may sound very similar to macular degeneration, the two disease processes are actually very different, and so they require different treatment.

Macular degeneration and macular hole are both related to aging

Both age-related macular degeneration and macular hole are related to the aging process, but in different ways. Macular degeneration is a deterioration of the cells of the retina itself. Although the causes are still being researched and are not fully understood, there are certain risk factors that raise the risk of macular degeneration, including smoking and family history.

A macular hole, by contrast, generally forms when the vitreous, the gel-like material that fills the eye, begins to shrink as a result of the aging process. In most people, the shrinking of the vitreous doesn’t cause any symptoms; it simply shrinks away from the retina, and the resulting space fills with fluid. However, if the vitreous sticks to the retina, then it may cause tears in the retina as it pulls away. When this happens in the area of the macula, then a macular hole may result.

Treatment for macular degeneration and macular hole is also different

Because these are two separate disease processes, the treatment for macular degeneration differs from the treatment for macular hole. With macular degeneration, treatment is focused on the health of the retina itself. The early stages generally don’t require treatment, but focus on living a healthy lifestyle (including optimizing factors like exercise and nutrition to support retinal health). In later stages, the treatment depends on the type of macular degeneration, but may include injections of certain medications into the eye or laser treatments.

With macular hole, treatment is also not always required, as some macular holes will seal themselves. However, if treatment is necessary, then it focuses on the vitreous rather than on the retina itself, because the vitreous is ultimately the cause of the problem. A vitrectomy helps in some cases; this procedure removes the vitreous and replaces it with saline (sterile salt water), which stops the vitreous from pulling on the retina.

Do you need San Diego macular degeneration or macular hole treatment?

If you’re experiencing symptoms in your central vision, then you might have macular degeneration or a macular hole, or another problem with the macula (such as macular pucker). As retinal specialists, we offer our patients our expertise in this field, to help protect your most important sense: your vision.

Any visual symptoms should be taken seriously and investigated as soon as possible. The earlier in the disease process we see and evaluate you, the more likely we will be able to treat the problem before it begins to seriously affect your vision. Our patients coming to us for San Diego macular degeneration, macular hole, or other macular conditions are closely monitored, and offered treatment if and when it becomes necessary to protect their vision. Please contact our office today to book an appointment.

Posted on April 26, 2019 By , in

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