A macular rupture is a tear in the macula, the central area of the retina. Rupture makes the central area of vision blurry, with the objects deformed or distorted. If the rupture widens, a blind spot appears in the centre of the field of vision. Macular rupture does not affect peripheral vision.
What causes macular rupture?
Most often, macular rupture is a consequence of the natural ageing process. With age, the vitreous shrinks and separates from the retina. It usually happens without problems, but sometimes the vitreous pulls the retina and stretches the macula. Therefore, the macula may rupture.
Sometimes a rupture is caused by macular pathology due to another disease or eye injury.
Retina is a layer of nerve cells, located on the inner surface of the eye. The retina senses light and sends signals to the brain, with images formed out of these signals in the brain.
Macula is a small but very important area in the centre of the retina. Macula is needed to clearly see the small details of objects.
Vitreous is a transparent gel which fills the eye cavity from the inside, maintains the rounded shape of the eye and transmits light rays to the retina.
How is macular rupture diagnosed?
First, an ophthalmologist will dilate your pupil with eye drops to examine the retina with a special lens.
Then, optical coherence tomography (OCT) will be performed – the device will scan the retina and make very detailed images of the retina and macula. The ophthalmologist can diagnose the disorder on the basis of such images.
How is macular rupture treated?
A method of treating a macular rupture is a surgery called vitrectomy. During this operation, the ophthalmologist removes the vitreous, which tightens the macula. A gas bubble is then injected into the eyes to flatten the macula and hold it in place. Gradually, the bubble dissolves, as it is replaced by its own intraocular fluid, produced by the eye.
What is necessary to know about vitrectomy?
- After surgery, the eye may hurt. Your surgeon will prescribe painkillers.
- After surgery, the eye will be sealed with a sterile bandage. Do not remove it without your doctor’s permit. You may be prescribed eye drops.
- The surgeon may ask you to lie face down for a certain time in order to keep the gas bubble in place while the edges of the macular rupture converge. The ophthalmologist will explain when you can return to your daily activities.
- Until the gas bubble disappears, you cannot fly by plane, climb to a great height, travel in the mountains and dive with a scuba diving, because during a rapid climb, the pressure changes and the gas bubble can cause problems.
- If you are planning any surgery, tell the doctors that you have a gas bubble in your eye.
After the macular rupture is closed, vision should improve. Improvement can take several months. Recovery of visual acuity depends on the time passed from a macular rupture to a surgery, as well as on the size of the rupture.
What complications can a vitrectomy cause?
Vitrectomy, like any surgery, can lead to complications. Your ophthalmologist will tell you about the expected results and possible complications of vitrectomy.
A macular rupture is a tear in the macula, the central area of the retina, which leads to deterioration of central vision and is treated surgically – by vitrectomy. The surgeon removes the vitreous from the eye, which tightens the macula.
If left untreated, macular rupture can lead to permanent vision loss.
For questions about visual impairment, be sure to contact an ophthalmologist. The doctor will make every effort to preserve your vision.