Why Changes in Vision Need to be Evaluated

When you hear the words vision and evaluation, you may ask yourself when the last time was that you say your optometrist. If you have never worn glasses or contacts and can still read the print of a book or website, you may wonder why it would be necessary to see any type of eye doctor, let alone a specialist. Here, we discuss a particular condition, a macular hole, that can arise even if your general vision has always been good.

A macular hole is a small gap in the macula, the piece of tissue that is at the center of the retina. When this gap occurs, vision may become distorted or blurry. It may become difficult to read print. Sometimes, a macular hole creates missing areas of sight in a person’s central vision. Any of these symptoms are an alert that you should contact an ophthalmologist or retina specialist.

What causes a macular hole?

About 80% of the eye is comprised of a gel-like fluid called the vitreous. As we age, the consistency of the fluid changes, which can pull on the retina. This tugging could tear the retina, causing a hole. In most cases, macular holes are the result of age-related degradation of the vitreous. Additional causes could be blunt trauma to the eye, diabetic eye disease, and retinal detachment.

How important is it to treat a macular hole?

It is not wise to ignore unusual symptoms that affect vision. Changes to normal visual acuity should be examined by an eye doctor sooner rather than later. In the case of a sudden onset of symptoms like floaters and flashes, emergency medical care must be sought. A macular hole may require surgical intervention to close the gap and prevent fluid from leaking behind the retina. If fluid seeps behind this piece of tissue, detachment could occur.

VitreoRetinal Surgery serves several Minnesota cities. Our retinal specialists are experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of macular holes and numerous other conditions. We are proud to offer prompt, professional care to patients in Minneapolis, Plymouth, Woodbury, and more. Call  (800) VRS-2500 to locate an office near you.

What Causes Macular Edema?

There are certain eye conditions that we hear about relatively often. Cataracts, for example, or even glaucoma. As retinal specialists, we diagnose and treat more obscure problems, such as macular edema. Here, we discuss what this condition is, what causes it, and what we may do to protect eye health.

The macula is the central part of the retina, the thin layer of tissue that sits at the back of the eye. When light enters the front of the eye, it passes through the lens and the vitreous and lands on the retina. The retina processes light and delivers signals to the brain via the optic nerve. The brain processes these signals and forms an image. As the center of the retina, the macula processes finer vision, that which we use to read, write, and perform up-close tasks. Macular edema is the thickening or swelling of the macula that requires treatment so that vision is not disrupted or lost.

Why Macular Edema Develops

Macular edema results from damaged blood vessels the retina. Damaged blood vessels can leak blood, fluids, and small amounts of fat. These can accumulate on the macula, causing thickening or swelling. Studies suggest that damaged blood vessels are a common side effect of diabetes. Macular edema is often considered a complication of diabetic retinopathy. However, other factors may contribute to this condition, including:

  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Blockages in the small veins in the retina
  • Inflammation of the uvea, a middle-eye structure
  • Genetic disorders such as retinitis pigmentosa
  • Side effects of certain medications

A history of eye surgery is not considered a direct cause of macular edema but it could be a factor that increases a person’s risk of blood vessel damage in the retina. For example, the blood vessels in the retina may be more sensitive after cataract surgery, increasing the risk of fluid leakage onto the macula.

Treatments for Macular Edema

At this time, macular edema is not a curable condition. Doctors provide care to manage swelling in the macula and protect long-term vision. A retinal specialist may reduce the thickness of the macula by injecting medication into this part of the eye. Alternatively, laser treatment may be administered to seal off leaking blood vessels. Treatments for macular edema to not reverse vision loss that has occurred. However, they can stabilize the condition to prevent worsening.

If you are experiencing symptoms of a retinal disorder, it is important to consult with a specialist. We are proud to serve physicians and patients in Edina, Minneapolis, St. Cloud, and various other Minnesota cities. To locate an office near you, call (800) VRS-2500.

Macular Hole Surgery Minneapolis, MN

Let’s Look at the Macula

Macular Hole Surgery Minneapolis, MNThe eye could be likened to a camera. At the front of the ocular structure is a lens. This lens takes in light and focuses it onto the retina at the back of the eye so a clear image can be formed. What helps to form the images that we observe is a collection of nerve cells located in the central region of the retina, a structure we call the macula.

A Hole Where It Doesn’t Belong

Black holes in the galaxy are one thing, a hole in the back of the eye is an even more interesting phenomenon. It’s a problem that can affect the quality of life, and one that needs to be evaluated by a qualified retinal specialist. There is often no precursor to the development of a macular hole. Occasionally, this condition coincides with retinal detachment or results from a direct injury to the eye.

Diagnosing the Macular Hole

Symptoms that may occur in the event of a macular hole include changes in vision. Instead of vision being clear, it becomes dense with fogginess, or may also appear wavy. A dark spot may appear in the central field of vision, or it may become difficult to observe fine details when looking straight at an object. Because macular holes occur in only one eye, these symptoms will be unilateral.

The presence of a macular hole can be confirmed by observing the back of the eye with a special instrument. Specific imaging may also be performed to obtain a more detailed, cross-sectional view of the retina and macula.

Does a macular hole need to be treated?

It is not common for a macular hole to heal spontaneously. Most often, the hole continues to expand, causing vision to progressively degrade over time. Treatment with surgery is usually recommended. Fortunately, the procedure used to close a macular hole has a strong history of success.

Vision changes can be concerning. We’ve got you covered. Learn more about the symptoms and treatment of macular holes at (800) VRS-2500. Vitreo Retinal Surgery has locations in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Blaine, Edina, Oakdale, Plymouth, St. Cloud and Duluth.