Are Macular Holes Preventable?

The development of macular holes is age-related. They are most commonly diagnosed in people age 60 and older. Unfortunately, just as you can’t prevent getting older, you can’t prevent developing a macular hole.

But fortunately, not all macular holes require treatment. Some heal on their own. Most cases, though, require surgery to repair. The surgery is called a vitrectomy, and it has a success rate of over 90%

What is a macular hole?

A macular hole is what it sounds like it is. It’s a tear, or hole, in the macula of your eye. The macula is in the center of your retina, which is a thin layer in the back of your eye. The macula is responsible for your sharp central vision.

As you get older, the vitreous, which is the gel-like substance that fills your eye and gives it its shape, begins to shrink. When this gel-like substance shrinks, it can pull away from your retina and tug at the macula, creating a tear. As the tear gets more substantial, more of your central vision is affected.

Other causes of macular holes include an injury to your eye or a condition that affects your eye health, such as diabetes or retinal detachment. Once you have a macular tear in one eye, you have a 10-15% chance of developing one in your other eye. 

Macular hole symptoms

Symptoms of a macular hole usually come on gradually. The size and location of your tear affects the severity of your symptoms. Symptoms of a macular hole include blurriness and wavy, distorted vision. 

As the tear progresses, you may notice dark or blind spots in your central vision and trouble reading or driving. A macular hole does not affect your side or peripheral vision. 

Macular hole treatment

For small tears, our expert board-certified ophthalmologists and vitreoretinal surgeons at University Retina may recommend a wait-and-see strategy. Some holes repair themselves. But in most cases, you will need surgery to repair the hole so that your vision doesn’t get worse. 

The surgery is called a vitrectomy. During a vitrectomy, we remove your vitreous and replace it with a bubble that contains air and gas. This bubble holds your macula in place so that the tear can heal and close. 

If you notice that your vision is blurry or distorted or you think you have a macular hole, call us to make an appointment at one of our four locations or use our online tool to request an appointment for expert diagnosis and a treatment plan.

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