Ask a Doctor: What is a full thickness macular hole, and what causes it?

Medical doctor with a stethoscope around his neck holding

Q: What is a full thickness macular hole, and what causes it?

A: A full thickness macular hole is the loss of tissue in the center of the retina. The retina is the tissue in the back of the eye that converts light into an electrical signal that's transmitted to the brain. A full thickness macular hole is usually caused by excessive tugging on the retina by the vitreous gel that fills the eye. The gel actually can pull so much that a hole is formed in the retina. Eye trauma can also cause the formation of the hole, which often results in loss of central vision. Most holes do not resolve spontaneously but require treatment to restore vision. Treatment includes medical and surgical.

- Dr. Char Decroos, Southeastern Retina Associates; member, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society