Macular Hole Statistics

Joy Efron
Joy R. Efron, Ed.D.

My source for macular hole statistics is The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) Retina/Vitreous Panel, Preferred Practice Pattern® Guidelines. Idiopathic Macular Hole 2014, Updated 2019.  (Idiopathic Macular Hole Preferred Practice Pattern® – Ophthalmology

  • 1991: The first year macular hole surgery was performed
  • 7.8 out of 100,000 people in the general population get a macular hole.
  • More than 97% of the people who get macular holes are older adults: More than 50% occur in patients ages 65-74; 3% are under age 55.
  • 72% of people with macular holes are female.
  • 90% of recent macular holes that are 400 micrometers or smaller are successfully closed with vitrectomy surgery.
  • Macular holes that have been present for over six months have a lower closure rate following vitrectomy, and such patients have less return of vision.
  • For patients whose macular holes do not close following the first surgery, 70% will close following the second surgery. However, the visual recovery will not be as good as for those that closed with the first surgery.
  • 10-15% of people with a macular hole get one in the second eye within a 5-year period after the first macular hole.
  • 50% improvement in vision or two lines on the Snellen (visual acuity) chart is achieved by most patients following vitrectomy for a macular hole.
  • 3-11% of macular holes close spontaneously.
  • Most investigators believe that macular holes are caused by pathologic vitreoretinal traction at the fovea. Trauma may be responsible for a minority of macular hole cases.

Updates in Macular Hole Treatment and Recovery

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A Disclaimer

I was an educator of blind and low-vision children for 42 years. Although I have read and researched a great deal and have had extensive discussions with retinal specialists, I am not an ophthalmologist or medical doctor.

Reviewed by the author, August, 2023