What is a Macular?
The macula is a small area in the very center of the retina. It is highly sensitive and produces detailed, colour images in the centre of the field of vision. Click here to view an information sheet from RANZCO on Age-Related Macular Degeneration.
What is a Macular Hole?
A macular hole is a small, round gap which opens up at the center of the retina. A Macular Hole can causes blurred or distorted vision where straight lines or letters look wavy or bowed. A patch of vision may also be missing from the center.
How does a Macular Hole develop?
It is not known why macular holes develop. They are most common in people aged 60-80, and is twice as common in women as men. It is also mainly longsighted people who are affected. Some causes of macular holes include severe trauma to the eye, being very shortsighted (myopic), those who have had a retinal detachment or as a result of a longstanding swelling of the central retina (cystoid macular oedema).
What would happen if I left my Macular Hole untreated?
If left untreated, there is a small chance that some macular holes can close spontaneously and improve vision but in the majority of cases, the central vision will gradually get worse to a level where the patient is unable to read even the largest print on an eye chart. The condition does not affect the peripheral or side vision, so patients will not go completely blind from this condition.
How can Macular Hole be treated?
A macular hole can be treated by a vitrectomy, peel and gas. For those who have had a macular hole for less than a year, the operation will be successful in about 90% of cases, with 70% of these cases where two or three lines more down a standard vision chart will be readable, compared to before the operation. In a minority of patients the hole does not close despite surgery and the central vision can continue to deteriorate. A second operation can still be successful in closing the hole. It is important to understand that it is not possible to return to completely normal vision.