A macular hole is a small opening in the most sensitive part of the retina, the area we use for reading and performing our sharpest visual tasks. The hole leads to central blurring, distortion, or a gray spot in the vision. Although sometimes associated with trauma, it most often forms from tractional forces caused by the vitreous gel that fills the back cavity of the eye. Surgery can often close a macular hole with a good chance of visual recovery. Without surgery, most macular holes will progress to the level of 20/400 vision.
Vitrectomy with Membrane Peeling and Placement of a intraocular Gas Bubble is indicated for Full Thickness Macular Holes. Vitrectomy surgery is a hospital based outpatient procedure that usually takes from 60-90 minutes depending on the procedures needed. Your total time at the hospital is usually 4-5 hours between check-in and discharge after surgery.
What to expect
Your Physician will discuss the surgical procedure and post-op recovery. With the need for an Intraocular Gas Bubble there are strict positioning requirements needed to help close the macular hole. This usually involves positioning face down for 45/60 minutes per hour for every daytime hour for the next 7 days. This is critical to help close the hole. By resting face down the gas bubble is able to float up against the hole help it close.
It is forbidden to travel out of your immediate elevation without the consent of your Physician or to fly in an airplane while there is gas in the eye. Doing so can cause irreversible vison loss due to a high pressure in the eye.
Your Physician is able to remove the scar that was causing the hole to be pulled open but without resting face down the gas bubble is not able to help close the hole. After surgery you will leave the hospital with an eyepatch and shield over the surgical eye. You will also have 3-6 different types of prescription eye drops that will start the next morning after you remove the eyepatch and shield.
You will be able to return home for the first night after the procedure if you live locally or stay overnight in a local hotel. Your Physician will see you the day after surgery. Normally the post-operative follow up exams fall at: 1 Day, 1 Week, 3 Weeks, 6 Weeks, and 3 Months following surgery.