What is a macular hole?
Macular hole is a defect in the centre of the macula. The macula is a part of the retina (film at the back of the eye) which is responsible for central vision. Symptoms of macular hole include a dark or blind spot in the centre of the vision.
As we age, the vitreous pulls away from the retina. This is called a posterior vitreous detachment. In the majority of population, posterior vitreous detachment will occur with no problem, however, in certain people, it will pull stronger on the retina and form a macular hole.
Only macular holes occurring through all the layers of the retina (full thickness macular holes) will require treatment.
What is the treatment for macular hole?
Macular hole can be repaired by surgery called vitrectomy. The surgery is performed usually under local anaesthetic and lasts c. 1 hour. Vitrectomy involves removal of the vitreous, gel-like material inside the eye, via small incisions. This is followed by the treatment to the macular hole and insertion of a gas bubble. You cannot travel by plane until the gas bubble is resolved which can be up to 6-8 weeks. You may also have to keep your head down during the day for a week (with breaks). The surgical success will depend on the size and duration of the macular hole. The vision improves but may not be perfect like before having a macular hole.