Macular Hole – What is it and what causes it?

Macular hole is a caused when an opening forms in the macula. The macula is the extremely small central area of the retina. It’s responsible for the sharp central vision needed for reading, driving and seeing fine details in general.

Something a macular hole can cause is blurred and distorted central vision and as the hole continues to grow, you might notice dark or blind spots, while looking around.
A macular hole does have any effect on the side vision.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms are usually very similar to those of a macular degeneration, but the conditions are actually very different. You may start experiencing difficulty with reading and doing more precise work which requires you to focus your vision on specific details. Something else you may start experiencing is seeing black spots or having blank areas in your central vision.

In most cases macular holes affect only one of the eyes and develop over time, so noticing symptoms may prove to be difficult, as in the beginning they can be relatively subtle.  The early signs and symptoms usually consist of blurred vision or seeing straight lines a bit wavy.

The size and position of the hole is what determines how much exactly it affects the vision. There are three stages of macular hole, as the vision worsens more and more with every stage.

What can cause a Macular Hole?

A macular hole is most commonly associated with old age and it appears as a problem in people who are over the age of 60. As we get older the vitreous slowly begins to shrink and pull away from the retina. Usually there is no problem when the vitreous pull away from the retina, but in some cases the vitreous is too firmly attached to the retina which causes the macula to stretch and a hole to form.

Another thing is that once the vitreous has pulled away from the retina’s surface some fibres can remain on the surface and contract. Which in turn causes a lot of tension and can lead to the forming of a macular hole.

Macular hole can also be caused by the swelling of the macula, which is caused by some other eye diseases or injuries, some of which are:

*An injury or serious trauma – younger people may develop a macular hole after experiencing a serious eye injury.

*Retinal Detachment

*Diabetic eye disease

*Macular pucker – scar tissue formation over the macula that wraps and contracts causing the retina to wrinkle.

How can it be treated?

As with any other condition treatment for macular holes, it is most effective when it is carried out and applied as soon as the condition or the risk of developing it, is detected. This is way it is very important if you start experiencing any vision-related problems or discomfort to immediately contact a doctor and have a proper eye check-up.

The most commonly applied treatment method is vitrectomy, an operation that is used to remove the vitreous gel from the eye. Then it is replaced with gas that helps the macula heal properly.

If you feel like you are experiencing any symptoms such as gradual change in your central vision, discomfort and irritation, please contact an eye professional and schedule an eye check-up!