Macular-hole surgery revisited

There has been no post on Long Row drawing more response than “Macular hole surgery:  A journal.”  The post covered my eye surgery and recovery from June 1, 2011, through September 21 of the same year.  Comments and questions regularly arrive to this day.

Most of the many responses  focused on the operation itself and the short-period of “face-down” positioning during recovery. There was worry over pain, discomfort and results.  Now, looking back almost three years, an update on the status of my repaired right eye is in order.

To refresh, a macular hole is a torn area in the central part of the retina called the macula.  It is caused by age or injury and affects long-distance vision, reading or color.  Maybe all three.  In short, the hole causes a distortion in vision.  While surgery closes the tear, it does not cure the problem.  The distortion remains forever.  Surgery merely aims to prevent the loss of all vision in that eye.  And that is very important should you have the misfortune of losing the other.

In my case, the distortion came as a small bend (a “wave” I call it) or blurry spot in the middle of everything I saw out of that one eye.  But I never noticed the distortion until I had an eye examination leading up to cataract surgery.  The reason is simple.  I had a healthy left eye that took over my vision and “hid” the other eye’s misbehavior.  With a macular hole, your vision is as good as the other eye allows.  And who that reads easily thinks of checking one eye or the other individually?  I didn’t.

Time has not improved my damaged eye.  It has remained the same over the years.  Not better, not worse, just the same as it was on September 21 of 2011.   The slight blur is still there.  Reading with that eye alone is slow and irksome.

So far I do not worry about losing the other eye.  It is rare, I’ve read, to have macular holes in both eyes.  And even if I were to lose vision in the “healthy” left one and its near 20/20 vision, all is not lost.

I have tried averted vision, looking out of the corners of my bad eye, say, at a line of type.  I’ve tried flicking my eye back and forth very quickly, from looking dead-on to a word and then at it out of the corners.  At best, the improvement is minimal.

The real solution, I believe, is magnification.

I can read a line of 8-point type with the damaged right eye but it is slow-going.  I can go faster at 12-point and faster yet at 18-point, which is lettering a quarter of an inch in height.  (One point equals .013836 of an inch).  Newspaper print is usually 9-10 points.  If you read boxscores of a basketball game, the size is usually in agate, or 6 points.

Using a normal magnifying glass, I can read 12-point type with ease and agate almost as easily.

If you are writing, it may even be beneficial to do it in bold face and/or in the color of your choice.  Every case of macular hole is slightly different.

I am an optimistic person.  I believe that I can and will adapt to any changes in my vision.  At my age, I try to live for the moment as much as I can, enjoy what I have today to the fullest.  And I’m grateful that I have some vision in my right eye, even though the “scar” is present.

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One thought on “Macular-hole surgery revisited

  1. Thank you for the information you posted about your macular hole surgery. I have also been diagnosed with this vision disorder and yesterday underwent a new type of treatment, an injection, which is suitable for some patients. The outcome of this injection is not known as yet, but it should be clear in two weeks whether the hole in my left eye has closed. I have found your blogposts most reassuring regarding the outcome of your surgery and your enjoyment of life following the surgery. Thank you.

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