The macula is the centre of the photosensitive retina, and is responsible for detailed vision that enables you to read, recognise faces, etc. Degeneration of the macula with age affects vision. Macular degeneration can be dry or wet. Wet macular degeneration is the rare, more severe form that occurs due to abnormal vessel formation in the underlying layers, causing the flat macular to bulge. Macular translocation is a surgical procedure to treat wet macular degeneration.
The procedure is performed only on select patients with fairly new onset of macular degeneration and central vision loss. Those with eye diseases, macular scarring and long-term or severe vision loss are not recommended for this procedure.
Your doctor may choose to perform a partial translocation by putting a stitch in the back wall of the eye (sclera) causing the retina to wrinkle, thereby detaching the macula from the abnormal underlying tissue. The wrinkled retina is then flattened such that the macula is repositioned over healthy tissue.
A complete translocation is performed by first removing the vitreous (fluid that fills the eye), lifting the retina from its underlying tissue by injecting a fluid underneath it and cutting the retina at its periphery. The retina is then rotated 360 degrees, shifting the macula to a new area, and is reattached with laser. The abnormal vessels are removed or treated with laser. Silicone oil is filled in the eye to hold the retina in position. An eye patch is placed over your eye for a day and certain physical positions are recommended to facilitate retinal reattachment. You may require a second minor procedure to correct any vision abnormalities as a result of shifting of the macula.