What is a macular hole?

A macular hole is a small defect in the retinal layer that develops at the centre of the macula. If the macula is damaged it is difficult to drive, watch TV, read or recognise faces. A macular hole affects central vision. Peripheral vision is unaffected and it doesn't lead to complete blindness. If left untreated vision usually deteriorates.

Some early macular holes may close themselves and need no treatment. If treatment is needed this could be either via an injection or a procedure known as a vitrectomy.

There is no real known reason why a macular hole develops, when they do they are more common between the ages of 60 and 80, but it is possible for a macular hole to develop at a much earlier age than this. Women are more often likely to suffer from a macular hole then men. Macular holes usually only affect one eye, although there is up to a 10 per cent (one in ten) chance that it can happen in your other eye in the future. Your specialist is best placed to tell you what your future risk might be.

Further information about macular holes and the vitrectomy procedure can be found on the Macular Society's Macular hole webpage.

A macular hole is very different to Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) for more information about AMD see What is AMD?

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