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Macular Hole

What is a Macular Hole?

A macular hole is a small break in the macula, which is located in the center of the eye's light-sensitive tissue called the retina. The macula provides the sharp central vision we need for reading, driving, and seeing fine detail. As you age, the vitreous gel that fills the eye shrinks and pulls away from the macula, usually with no negative impact on your sight. However, if the vitreous gel sticks to the macula and is unable to pull away, the macular tissue stretches. After several weeks or months of this stretching, the macula tears, creating a hole. The fluid that replaces the shrunken vitreous can then seep through the hole onto the macula, blurring and distorting central vision.

Macular holes can also result from injury to the eye, disorders such as high myopia (nearsightedness), macular pucker, and retinal detachment, and eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and Best's disease.

Is a macular hole the same as age-related macular degeneration?

No. Although the symptoms are similar, macular holes and age-related macular degeneration are two separate and distinct conditions. Both conditions are common in people 60 and over. An eye care professional will be able to tell the difference.

Will I get a macular hole in my second eye?

If you have a macular hole in one eye, there is a 10-15 percent chance that a macular hole will develop in your other eye over your lifetime. Your doctor can discuss this with you.

What are symptoms of a macular hole?

Macular holes often begin gradually. Depending on the stage of the macular hole, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Decreased ability to see fine details when looking directly at something, regardless of its distance from you
  • Vision distortion similar to looking through thick fog or wavy glass
  • A dark or blind spot in the center of your field of vision

If you notice any of these symptoms, please schedule an appointment with Retina Vitreous Associates at one of our Illinois or Indiana offices as soon as possible to speak with a retinal specialist.