Macular Hole

If a hole develops in the central macula area of the retina it can affect central vision. Surgery is required to repair the hole.

What causes a macular hole?

Most cases happen spontaneously and the exact cause is not well understood. They are more common in people over the age of 60 and occur more commonly in women. Some retinal holes are associated with retinal detachment, eye injury, being very short-sighted and 'cystoid macular oedema' (fluid swelling of the central retina).

What are the symptoms of a macular hole?

Blurred or distorted vision, or a black spot or missing patch in the centre of the vision can all be signs of a macular hole. If you notice any of these symptoms you should seek immediate medical attention as early treatment gives a better outcome.

How are macular holes treated?

Retinal surgeons use a 'vitrectomy' operation, with inner limiting membrane peel and gas to repair macular holes. Most people will experience an improvement in vision following surgery, particularly if the hole was identified early.

What is the success rate of this operation?

• Depend on the exact stage of the hole and its duration • Most people with holes of less than one year duration can expect at least two lines visual improvement on the chart and a reduction in visual distortion • 50% of those with early, short duration holes can expect to see over half the chart and about a third of these get near normal vision