What is a macular hole?

The eye is often compared to a camera. The front of the eye contains a lens that focuses images on the inside of the back of the eye. This area, called the retina, is covered with special nerve cells that react to light, like film in a camera. These nerve cells are very close together in the middle of the retina where the eye focuses the images that we see. This small part of the retina is called the macula.

Sometimes the nerve cells of the macula become separated from each other and pull away from the back surface of the eye forming a hole. This is called a macular hole.

Why do people get macular holes?

Sometimes macular holes are the result of an injury or a medical condition that affects the eye, including being very near sighted. In most people, it is due to traction on the center of vision that is more likely to occur as we age.

What are the symptoms of a macular hole?

The symptoms of a macular hole include:

  • A decrease in the ability to see fine details when a person is looking directly at an object, no matter how close or far away it is.
  • A change in vision that makes a person feel like he or she is looking through a dense fog or thick, wavy glass.
  • The appearance of a dark spot across the middle of the field of view.

When these symptoms are caused by a macular hole, they will occur in only the eye with the macular hole. It is very rare for someone to have macular holes in both eyes.

If any of these symptoms occur, it is important to schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. The doctor will use a special instrument to look inside the eye and see whether the macula has a hole in it.