What does the retina do?
Light rays enter the eye through the cornea, pupil and lens. These light rays are focused on the retina, the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye. The retina sends signals through the optic nerve to the brain where these signals become the images we see.
What is the macula?
The retina has two areas: the peripheral retina which gives us our side or wide-angle vision and the macula the small area at the center of the retina. The macula gives us our pinpoint vision allowing us to see clearly.
How is a macular hole formed?
The inner eye is filled with a clear jelly-like substance called the vitreous. As we age the vitreous becomes less like jelly and more like liquid. Usually the vitreous is only loosely attached to the retina so as the eye moves, the vitreous moves away from the macula without causing problems. In some cases, however, the vitreous sticks to the macula and is unable to pull away. As a result, the macula tissue stretches and a hole may form.
What happens during a vitrectomy?
To perform a vitrectomy the ophthalmologist makes tiny incisions in the sclera or white of the eye a small instrument is placed into the eye to remove the vitreous gel. Once the vitreous gel is removed your surgeon also may remove some membranes on the surface of the macula. Generally, a gas bubble is injected into the eye to help flatten the macular hole and hold the retinal tissue in place while it heals.