Surgery called vitrectomy is the best way to treat a macular hole. Your ophthalmologist removes the vitreous that is pulling on your macula. Then he or she puts a gas bubble inside the eye. This bubble helps flatten the macular hole and hold it in place while your eye heals. The gas bubble slowly goes away on its own.

Things to know about vitrectomy surgery for macular hole:

  • You will need to wear an eye patch for a short time. You also will need to put drops in your eye, which will be prescribed by your doctor.
  • You must keep your face down or in a certain position at all times for up to a week, but maybe longer, after vitrectomy surgery. This is to keep the gas bubble in place to heal properly. Your doctor will let you know how long you must maintain these special position to maximize healing.
  • You cannot fly in an airplane, go up to mountains or scuba dive until the gas bubble is gone. This is because going up quickly in altitude can make eye pressure rise. That can cause problems with the bubble.
  • If you need to have any other type of surgery, be sure to tell your doctor before surgery that you have a gas bubble in your eye.
  • Your vision should improve as the macular hole closes. It may take several months for the hole to finish healing. How much vision you get back depends on the size of your macular hole. It also depends on how long the hole was there before you had surgery.

What are vitrectomy surgery risks?
Like any surgery, vitrectomy has risks. They include:

  • Eye infection
  • Bleeding in your eye
  • A detached retina (where the retina lifts away from the back of the eye)
  • Glaucoma, when pressure increases inside the eye
  • Cataract, when the lens in your eye becomes cloudy

Face-Down Recovery After Retinal Surgery
After some types of retinal surgery, you will need to keep your head in a face-down position. This is because a gas bubble has been put in your eye. Recovering with your head down allows the bubble to float into the correct position. Read more about face-down positioning from a patient’s point of view:

“Surviving Recovery from Macular Hole Surgery” A 5 part series of articles is to offer hints and tips to assist in “surviving” the difficult postoperative period following macular hole surgery.

Below are a list of websites that offer face-down recovery positioning equipment for purchase or rental: