Vitreomacular traction is a condition in which the vitreous (the gel-like substance in the eye) pulls abnormally on the retina (the light-sensitive innermost layer of the eye responsible for processing visual images).
When the pulling of the gel distorts the retina, it causes swelling and decreased vision.
Symptoms of vitreomacular traction include a gradual worsening of central vision or vision distortion (seeing straight lines as wavy).
The best way to detect the problem is through an eye examination. Your ophthalmologist will administer eye drops to enlarge the pupils temporarily so that he or she can check the back of your eyes (the retina) for holes. The eyes are also painlessly scanned with optical coherence tomography (a light used to check the different layers of the retina).
There are no proven preventive measures.
What causes vitreomacular traction?As we grow older, the gel-like vitreous in the eye usually becomes more liquefied, causing it to pull on the retina. This pulling (or traction) causes wrinkling of the retinal surface or distortion of the retinal blood vessels, which lead to vision loss.
Diagnosis is often made by clinical examination.
Macula holes may be treated with a vitrectomy, a form of keyhole surgery that uses small probes to enter inside the eye to remove the vitreous. A gas is then injected into the eye to replace the vitreous and prevent it from pulling on the retina.
Following surgery, the patient will need to lie in a face-down position for one to two days to allow the gas bubble to press against the retina to smooth it out. The eye will refill naturally with fluid.
The success of relieving vitreomacular traction ranges from 80% to 90%. The surgery also helps to improve the symptoms of blurred or distorted vision and may help to prevent the deterioration of vision.
Following surgery, the patient will need to lie in a face-down position for one to two weeks to allow the gas bubble to press against the macula and seal the hole. The eye will refill naturally with fluid. The success of improving the vision varies from person to person and ranges from 60% to 80%.
Eye drops will be dispensed after surgery and should be used as prescribed. Good eye hygiene and avoiding injury to the operated eye are important to reduce infection and problems after surgery.
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