Treatment for Macular Holes in Baltimore

The term “macular hole” applies to a particular form of damage that afflicts the macula, that portion of the retina that not only manages your central field of vision but also houses all the eye’s cones, the photosensitive cells that make color vision possible. While a macular hole tends to appear after age 60 and produces symptoms similar to those of macular degeneration, it is a very different condition — one that can be healed by our team of eye doctors at Elman Retina Group in Baltimore.

Like the rest of the retina, the macula is attached to the inner lining of the eyeball. When the vitreous humor, the gelatinous inner “filling” of the eye, begins to shrink with age, it can tug at from this lining. In most cases, this produces only superficial damage such as increased “floaters.” Sometimes however, a significant chunk of tissues can actually be pulled away from the macula, leaving a macular hole. While age-related vitreous humor shrinkage is the primary cause of macular holes, you could also get one due to macular edema or other eye disease, trauma, severe myopia or underlying health conditions.

Signs That You Might Have a Macular Hole

A macular hole may or may not cause vision symptoms depending on its size. The condition is classified by stages. Stage 1, or foveal detachment, may resolve itself without affecting vision, while Stages 2, 3 and 4, which involve partial-thickness or full-thickness holes, are likely to grow progressively worse without treatment. Symptoms of a macular hole include:

  • A sudden reduction of vision in one eye
  • Straight lines appearing wavy in the affected eye
  • Blurriness in your central visual field

Treatment Options

Our ophthalmologists at Elman Retina Group may recommend different treatment approaches for different stages of a macular hole. For instance:

  • Small macular hole with no vision loss – If your macular hole is extremely minor and isn’t currently affecting your vision at all, we may recommend a “watchful waiting” stance, using regular eye exams and close monitoring to detect any changes in your condition. If you’re very lucky, the hole may never grow larger.
  • Small macular hole with some decrease in vision – If your vision is somewhat affected by a small macular hole, an injectable medication may be able to stabilize the hole so it can heal itself.
  • Larger macular hole – Most macular holes that are beyond stage 1 require a form of surgery known as vitrectomy. Your ophthalmologist will replace your natural vitreous humor with a gas. When you lie face downward, the gas pushes a bubble of air onto the macula, holding it in position long enough to heal. This may mean maintaining a face-down position for days or even weeks — but it could also save your vision.

Don’t let a macular hole put a hole in your quality of life. Call Elman Retina Group at (410) 686-3000 to receive the necessary treatment!