A macular hole is a small break in the macula, located in the center of the retina. The macula provides the sharp, central vision we need for reading, driving and seeing fine detail. A macular hole is not the same disease as macular degeneration.

Overview and Symptoms

A macular hole can cause blurred and distorted central vision and are related to aging.

In the early stage of a macular hole, you may notice a slight distortion or blurriness in your straight-ahead vision. Straight lines or objects can begin to look bent or wavy.

Tension on the retina can lead to a macular hole. They can also occur as a complication of other eye conditions including: eye disorders, such as high myopia (nearsightedness), macular pucker, and retinal detachment; eye disease, such as diabetic retinopathy and Best’s disease; and injury to the eye.

Your ophthalmologist will perform an eye exam by putting drops in your eye to dilate your pupil. This allows the doctor to look through a special lens at the inside of your eye. Using an optical coherence tomography (OCT), a machine that scans the back of your eye, pictures are taken of your eye. This technique provides very detailed pictures of the retina and macula so your ophthalmologist can check for complications.


Some macular holes can seal themselves and do not need any treatment. Yet, in most cases, surgery is necessary. The surgical procedure used, called a vitrectomy, removes the vitreous gel to prevent it from pulling on the retina.  Your doctor places a bubble containing a mixture of air and gas into the eye. The bubble acts as an internal, temporary bandage that holds the edge of the macular hole in place as it heals. This surgery is usually conducted in an outpatient setting and you go home the same day.

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