A macular hole is a small hole in the center of the retina, the macula.
The eye contains a jelly-like substance called the vitreous. With age, the vitreous contracts and pulls away from the retina surface. Usually, this separation occurs without noticeable negative effect. The patient might notice floaters but there is no significant visual damage.
For some people, however, in spots where the vitreous is firmly attached to the retina surface, pulling can occur on the retina, and a small hole may eventually form in the macula. In addition, as we age the vitreous fluid becomes more liquid and less gel-like. It can readily seep through the resulting defect and cause a dark spot or defect in the patient's central vision noticed through distortion and loss of central vision.
The National Institutes of Health describes three degrees of severity:
- Stage I: Foveal detachment, in which about 50% of cases will worsen without treatment.
- Stage II: Partial-thickness, in which about 70% of cases will worsen without treatment.
- Stage III: Full-thickness causing severe central vision loss.
The severity of the symptoms is dependent on whether the hole is partial or full-thickness.
- Distorted, wavy vision
- Blurred central vision
- Difficulty in detail tasks such as reading
- Central blind spot or gray area
Rarely, trauma or injury to the eye can lead to macular hole development. Usually, however, these holes develop apparently spontaneously so that there is no known chemical or nutritional way to prevent their development. In addition, there is no way to know who is at risk for developing a hole prior to its appearance in one or both eyes.
Surgery is often used to treat severe macular holes. Learn more.
While surgery is generally considered necessary, with good nutrition for our vision we may prevent connective tissue impairments. About 50% of "stage 1" macular holes can heal by themselves. Since the health of the entire body is a factor in vision health, lifestyle changes and dietary adjustments can be very helpful in gaining and maintaining good vision.
- Certain nutrients, vitamins and enzymes, and fish oil may help recovery from a macular hole. Nutrient recommendations
- Healthy vision support
recommendations with detailed information.
- Some studies indicate that regular use of Microcurrent Stimulation (MCS) may help preserve vision as well.
Though there are no specific studies on nutrients and this particular condition, there is extensive research on nutrients such as lutein, zeaxanthin and bilberry among others that have been shown to be essential for the health of the macula. Based on these studies, Dr. Grossman has selected specific nutrients and products to help support the macula and overall eye health. Some of the research on macular degeneration may be applicable.