Macular Hole Surgery

During macular hole surgery (vitrectomy), a bubble containing a mixture of air and gas is placed in the eye -- this helps the macular hole to heal. The bubble is gradually reabsorbed by the eye, thus sealing the hole. Following this type of surgery, patients must remain in a face-down position for a period of time.

An Introduction to Macular Hole Surgery

Although some macular holes can seal themselves and require no treatment, surgery is necessary in many cases to help improve vision. The surgery used for macular hole treatment is called a vitrectomy.

The Vitrectomy

In a vitrectomy, the vitreous gel is removed to prevent it from pulling on the retina and then replaced with a bubble containing a mixture of air and gas. The bubble acts as an internal, temporary bandage that holds the edge of the macular hole in place as it heals. Macular hole surgery is performed under local anesthesia and often on an outpatient basis, meaning you will go home the day of the procedure.

Recovering From Macular Hole Surgery

Following surgery, patients must remain in a face-down position, normally for a day or two, but sometimes for as long as two to three weeks. This position allows the bubble to press against the macula and be gradually reabsorbed by the eye, sealing the hole. As the bubble is reabsorbed, the vitreous cavity refills with natural eye fluids.
Maintaining a face-down position is crucial to the success of macular hole surgery. Because this position can be difficult for many people, it is important to discuss this requirement with your doctor before surgery.

Macular Holes

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