Macular Hole Treatment: Vitrectomy

In May I noticed a slight change in my eyesight. I thought I needed new glasses. Fortunately I already had a June appointment with my ophthalmologist.

Facts about Macular Hole and vitrectomy treatmentThe diagnosis was a macular hole. A macular hole is a small break in the macula, located in the center of the eye’s light-sensitive tissue called the retina. The macula provides the sharp, central vision we need for reading, driving, and seeing fine detail.

A macular hole can cause blurred and distorted central vision. Macular holes are related to aging and usually occur in people over age 60.

Is a macular hole the same as age-related macular degeneration? No. Macular holes and age-related macular degeneration are two separate and distinct conditions, although the symptoms for each are similar. Both conditions are common in people 60 and over. An eye care professional will know the difference.

The treatment is a vitrectomy, which I had August 6. They remove some of the vitreous fluid, repair the hole, and inject a gas bubble, in my case sulfur hexafluoride, which acts as a tamponade.

To keep the bubble pressed up against the wound I had to keep my face down, chin on chest, for 14 days. I spent most of it hanging over the end of my bed watching my iPad which was positioned on pillows on the floor. Thanks to Netflix US, Bell TV, the New York Times, Economist, the Globe, etc it passed quickly.

I couldn’t exercise or drive the car until the bubble dissipated. Full healing takes 6-8 weeks and the vision can take a year to reach its best.

Once again I am very thankful for the great medical care we have here in Toronto.

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