Did you know that you can get a hole in your central retina as you age, which can cause vision loss? This scary condition is a macular hole, and you must see your ophthalmologist if you suspect you have one.
Otherwise, you could end up losing your eyesight completely. The eye doctors at Retina Consultants of Austin are trained and specialize in many retina conditions, including treating macular holes.
What is A Macular Hole?
A macular hole occurs when the retina stretches open in your macula, which is the central part of your retina. Macular holes are, for the most part, caused by age.
The vitreous gel in your eye pulls away as you get older. The gel is what gives your eye its shape and keeps things in place inside your eye.
If this gel sticks to your retina, it can stretch out the macula. Eye diseases or trauma to the eye are other potential causes of a macular hole.
What are the Symptoms of a Macular Hole?
If you have a macular hole, you might notice objects looking blurry, wavy, or distorted. You will also see a dark spot in your central vision as the hole gets bigger.
Macular holes do not affect your peripheral vision. The macula is the center of your retina and is responsible for clear, focused sight in front of you.
How is a Macular Hole Diagnosed?
Your eye doctor can diagnose a macular hole in their office by dilating and examining your eyes. You may need to undergo special retina imaging known as optical coherence tomography (OCT).
An OCT takes very detailed pictures of your retina. The images from an OCT help your eye doctor view your retina in great detail.
What are the Treatment Options for a Macular Hole?
The most common treatment for macular holes is a vitrectomy. A vitrectomy is a surgical procedure where your eye doctor removes the vitreous gel in your eye.
That way, your vitreous can’t pull on your retina. A membrane on the surface of the retina which also causes the retina to stretch open is then removed. At the end of the vitrectomy, they will place a gas bubble in your eye.
The bubble is to hold the edges of the macular hole closed until it heals. The gas bubble will go away on its own.
Does a Vitrectomy Have Risks or Side Effects?
Vitrectomy surgery for macular holes does carry possible risks. These risks include:
- Bleeding in the eye
- Detached retina
- Eye infection after surgery
Your eye doctor will discuss these risks with you and explain how a vitrectomy could help you.
What is the Recovery Like From a Vitrectomy?
After you have a vitrectomy, you will need to wear an eye patch and use special eye drops.
It is vitally important that you maintain the proper head position after the procedure. You will need to keep your head in a specific position anywhere from 1-7 days depending on the situation.
A stable head position helps the gas bubble stay in place so your eye can heal. You won’t be able to fly, scuba dive, or change altitude until after the gas bubble is gone to avoid a dangerous increase in eye pressure.
How Quickly Will my Vision Improve?
As the macular hole heals, you will notice your vision getting better. However, each patient has a different timeline.
It could take several months before your vision is back to the way it was. If your macular hole was big or it went untreated for too long, you might not regain full vision. Over time, though, your eyesight will improve after a vitrectomy.
If you think you have a macular hole, you must get medical attention immediately to avoid vision loss. Schedule an appointment at Retina Consultants of Austin in Austin, TX, today!
Don’t risk losing your vision!