Common Causes of Macular Holes in Young Adults

A macular hole is a small break in the macula of the eye, which is the central part of the retina that gives people the ability to see details. When the macula is damaged, it can cause sudden blurred or distorted central vision. Central vision is needed for activities that require fine, sharp, straight-ahead vision, including reading, writing and driving.

When young adults experience a macular hole, not only can it limit their ability to see, but it can also limit their day-to-day activities. Macular holes can be treated, however, with a vitrectomy—a common treatment for this condition. During the surgery, a retinal specialist will remove the gel that is filling the injured area (macular hole) of the eye. This allows the eye to heal, help the hole close and restore central vision. The surgery lasts between 45 to 90 minutes and recovery is usually between four to eight weeks.

Causes of macular holes in young adults

These are the three most common causes of macular holes in young adults:

  • Injury or trauma
    Young adults who participate in high-contact activities are at an increased risk of developing a macular hole following blunt trauma to the eye. James Dooner notes that this is by far the most common cause of all macular holes in young people.
  • High myopia
    Young adults with high myopia—nearsightedness requiring a corrective lens prescription of at least -6.00 diopeters (D)—are at an increased risk of developing macular holes.
  • Ocular inflammation

Ocular inflammation is inflammation of the uvea, or middle layer of the eye, and is often caused by autoimmune disorders, inflammatory disorders or other diseases that weaken the immune system. Ocular inflammation may also result from a normal immune response of the body fighting an eye infection.

“The bottom line is that macular holes are very rare in young adults,” says Dr. Dooner. “They are much more common in the elderly.”

If you or a loved one is experiencing sudden blurred or distorted central vision, Austin Retina Associates can help diagnose and treat macular hole degeneration in Austin. Our skilled team of ophthalmologists has over 20 years’ experience treating diseases and injuries of the eye. Call 877-925-7649 to schedule an appointment.