Treatment Options for Macular Holes
By Walter Choate on March 28, 2017
The team at our Nashville eye care center has dealt with a number of issues that impact vision quality and overall quality of life. This is particularly important for elderly patients, who may experience vision loss through various means, such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
With regard to AMD, there is a related issue that's important to note and to address as soon as possible. We're talking about macular holes, which we'll explore right now in more detail.
What Are Macular Holes?
The central portion of the retina is known as the macula. A macular hole refers to cases in which a small gap opens up in the macula. A hole in the macula can impact your vision, making it more difficult to see things clearly.
Macular holes tend to be common in people between 60 and 80 years old. While the causes can vary, the holes are often the result of the vitreous gel within the eye pulling at the retinal tissue and affecting the surface.
Signs and Symptoms of Macular Holes
The most common signs and symptoms of macular holes include the following:
- Blurry central vision
- Distorted central vision
- Grey or black spots in vision
- Blank portions of vision
- Straight lines appear bent in vision
Keep in mind that macular holes may form in one eye or both eyes.
Macular Hole Risk Factors
Some common risk factors for developing a macular hole include the following:
- Advanced age (over 60)
- Gender (more likely in women)
- Severe myopia (nearsightedness)
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Previous retinal detachment
- Prior eye trauma
Treatments for Macular Holes
One of the more common treatments for macular holes is a vitrectomy. This procedure involves the removal of the vitreous gel within the eye so it can be replaced with a gas. This gas allows the damaged portion of the macula to heal. Patients will be asked to keep their head in a specific position for several hours after the vitrectomy to help facilitate healing.
Is a Vitrectomy Necessary?
Not always, though this depends on the size and nature of the macular hole. Some macular holes will heal on their own, though other times it's necessary for the hole in the macula to be addressed by an eye care professional.
Failure to treat a macular hole can lead to serious loss of vision over time, and possible tears in the retina and retinal detachment.
Is a Vitrectomy Painful?
No, generally not.
The procedure is carried out under local or general anesthetic. This means patients are unlikely to experience pain or serious discomfort while undergoing the treatment.
How Effective Is a Vitrectomy?
A vitrectomy can be very effective as treatment, particularly when used to address the early formation of macular holes. Months after surgery, around 80 percent to 90 percent of patients who undergo the procedure will experience some improvement in their vision quality.
Learn More About Retinal Conditions
For more information about retinal conditions and how we can help you improve your overall vision, be sure to contact an experienced eye care doctor today. The team here will address your issues carefully to ensure lasting eye health and vision quality.
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“I am very pleased with the attention I received at Choate Eye Associates. Dr. Choate is very thorough and does a wonderful job of explaining what he is doing and what he is looking for in the exam.” Dianal - Comprehensive Eye Care Patient