Who will get their sight back after macular hole surgery?

Research details

  • Type of funding: Fight for Sight Small Grant Award
  • Grant Holder: Mr Saruban Pasu
  • Institute: Moorfields Eye Hospital
  • Region: London
  • Start date: March 2016
  • End Date: March 2017
  • Priority: Causes
  • Eye Category: Viteoretinal & ocular trauma


A macular hole is a tear in the macula – the central part of the light-sensitive layer of the eye (the retina). Surgery to close a macular hole has a high success rate. Unfortunately though this doesn’t always come with better vision.

The imaging technique currently used to scan the macula before and after surgery isn’t able to help us find out why vision doesn’t always improve. This is because it doesn’t show the light-detector cells (photoreceptors) in the macula.

But there is a way of imaging – called adaptive optics – that is able to see individual photoreceptors. Recent studies that have used adaptive optics to look at closed macular holes show that the number of photoreceptors can increase over time, with people getting more of their sight back.

In this project the researcher is inviting patients with macular holes to take part by having adaptive optics imaging done both before and 6 months after surgery. The images will be compared to each other and areas where photoreceptors have been lost will be marked out.

The aim is to find out if it’s possible to predict whether vision will get better after the hole has been closed with surgery. Ultimately, this research will give both surgeons and patients a new understanding of what visual changes to expect after macular hole surgery.