Macular Holes: What They Are and How to Treatment Them By Eric Del Piero on March 16, 2016

How to repair a macular holeHere at Monterey County Eye Associates, we help patients address all kinds of issues that affect their eye health and vision quality. By offering state-of-the-art care, we can help ensure optimal results and ideal treatments.

A number of patients have had questions about retinal conditions and how they can be treated. Let's take a moment right now to explore the issue of macular holes and how they can be addressed.

About Macular Holes

To understand macular holes, it's first important to understand what the macula is and what it does.

The macula is the small central portion of the retina, the light-sensitive tissue located at the back of the eye. The retina receives light signals and sends them to the brain, making the retina crucial for proper vision. The macula in particular is full of light-sensitive cells known as cones, whereas the rest of the cornea contains cells known as rods.

Macular holes refer to tears and small breaks in the macular, which result in changes to your overall vision quality. There are three stages of macular holes, categorized in terms of extent:

  • Foveal detachments (Stage I)
  • Partial-thickness holes (Stage II)
  • Full-thickness holes (Stage III)

Treatment at an earlier stage is obviously better than treatment at a later stage.

Causes of Macular Holes

Macular holes are often associated with shrinkage of the vitreous gel within the eye. This gel can attach to and peel at part of the retina, causing holes and other kinds of retinal damage in some cases.

Risk Factors for Macular Holes

Some risk factors for developing macular holes include the following:

  • Diabetes and related eye disease
  • High degree of nearsightedness (myopia)
  • Macular pucker
  • Retinal detachmment
  • Previous eye injury
  • Best's disease

Keep in mind that advanced age may be a contributing factor to macular holes forming. In addition, if you have macular holes in one eye, there is a 10 percent to 15 percent chance that macular holes will develop in your other eyes.

Signs and Symptoms of Macular Holes

Common signs and symptoms of macular holes include:

  • Blurriness in straightforward vision
  • Distortions in straightforward vision
  • Waviness or bending in objects that should appear straight
  • Difficulty reading

Treatments for Macular Holes

In many cases, the ideal option for treating macular holes and preventing further progression and vision loss is to perform a vitrectomy.

A vitrectomy is an outpatient procedure performed using local anesthetic. During the procedure, the eye surgeon removes the vitreous gel that caused the damage and places a small bubble of gas/air in the eye. This bubble helps hold the damaged macula in place so it can heal, in essence serving as a type of internal bandage.

Given the location of the retina and the nature of the procedure, patients will need to maintain a face-down position during recovery. This and other matters related to post-op care can be discussed in more detail during your consultation.

Schedule a Consultation with Monterey County Eye Associates

To learn more about addressing macular holes and other serious vision issues, be sure to contact our team of eye care specialists today. The team at Monterey County Eye Associates will work with you to ensure you receive optimal vision.

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The team of doctors at Monterey County Eye Associates

Monterey County Eye Associates
Monterey Bay Eye Center

Our team of ophthalmologists provides state-of-the-art eye care using the latest technology. They are proud to be affiliated with: 

  • AAO: American Academy of Ophthalmology
  • ABO: American Board of Ophthalmology

To schedule an appointment at one of our four ophthalmologist office locations in Monterey, Salinas, and King City, contact us online or call (831) 375-2020.

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Eric J. Del Piero, MD

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