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A macular hole is an opening in the retina (the layer at the back of the eye that is sensitive to light) that develops at the fovea (the part of the eye that is responsible for sharp vision) and causes a small dark spot in the central vision. Often preventing those with the condition from recognising very small objects, particularly from reading ordinary print and possibly being fit to drive.

For people over the age of sixty idiopathic macular holes are an important cause of visual loss. In this population 0.5% will have macular holes and about two thirds of these are women. While most people only develop a macular hole in one eye, there is a 10 to 15% chance of developing a macular hole in the other eye as well.