It Is Important to Seek Treatment for Macular Holes

Macular holes often develop with age, and can result in blurred and distorted vision. Our experienced doctors can treat macular holes with a quick, effective surgical procedure at our Austin, TX, office. This condition is common in patients over the age of 60 and is easily treatable when detected early. Without treatment, a macular hole can result in a loss of vision in the affected eye. With a simple surgical procedure, we can help repair your macular hole and restore your vision. 

Illustration of a macular hole

As we age, a macular hole can develop in the retina, leading to significant vision loss.

Causes and Symptoms

While macular holes are an age-related condition, usually occurring in patients over the age of 60, they are different from macular degeneration. The macula is a small area at the center of the back of your eye that is surrounded by a jelly-like substance in our eyes, known as the vitreous. As we age the vitreous, shrinks and begins to separate from the retina. This is a normal occurrence and the empty space is naturally filled with fluid. However, a macular hole can develop if the vitreous is firmly attached to the retina when this separation occur. This hole can develop in the retina while the torn off retinal tissue remains stuck to the macula. A macular hole can also result from diabetic eye disease, trauma, and other issues. 

Typically, macular holes form slowly, and the fluid that replaces the vitreous can leak into the macula, causing blurred and distorted vision. Early on, you may notice a slight blurriness or distortion when you try to view objects at a central distance. You may also begin to perceive straight lines and objects as bent or wavy. However, without treatment, it can become difficult to read or perform routine activities.

Types of Macular Holes

There are three different stages of macular holes:

  • Stage I is known as foveal detachment because the foveal depression is lost. Almost half of these macular holes will progress to Stage II without treatment.
  • Stage II macular holes are partial-thickness holes in only part of the retina. These holes can still be successfully treated. If left untreated, 70 percent or more of these macular holes progress to the next stage.
  • Stage III results in full-thickness macular holes with a complete hole in the retina. These holes affect most of your central vision and you may experience loss of detailed vision.

If eye treatment is not sought for a macular hole, it can result in a detached retina, which can cause permanent vision impairment or loss in the affected eye.

With a simple surgical procedure, we can help repair your macular hole and restore your vision. 

Associated Risks

It is important to seek immediate treatment if you begin to notice any changes in your vision. If you develop a macular hole in one eye, there is a 10 to 15 percent chance that you could develop a macular hole in your other eye. Without treatment, you risk the advancement of the condition and the possibility of losing your vision in that eye.

Treatment for Macular Holes

Some macular holes resolve without treatment. However, to prevent vision loss, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible if you have this condition. Our doctors can treat macular holes with a simple surgical treatment. These surgeries are typically performed as an outpatient procedure under a local anesthetic. During the procedure, known as a vitrectomy, we remove the vitreous gel and replace it with a bubble consisting of a gas and air mixture. This bubble can hold the macular hole in place, acting as a temporary bandage during healing, before the bubble is naturally filled with fluid.

Preserve Your Eyesight

A macular hole can lead to significant impairment and loss of vision. If you have noticed any changes in your eyesight, contact our office right away to schedule an appointment. 

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