The macula is the central area of one of the most important parts of your eye — the retina.

The retina is a thin layer of light-sensitive tissue that lines the back of the eye. Light rays are focused onto the retina, where they are transmitted to the brain and interpreted as the images you see. The macula is the portion of the retina responsible for clear, detailed vision.

How does a macular hole form?

Your eye is filled with a gel-like substance called vitreous, which lies in front of the macula. As you age, the vitreous gel shrinks and pulls away from the macula, usually with no negative effect on your sight. In some cases, however, the vitreous gel sticks to the macula and is unable to pull away. As a result, the macular tissue stretches. After several weeks or months the macula tears, forming a hole.

Less common causes of macular holes include injury and long-term swelling of the macula.

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