Foveal hypoplasia is a medical condition wherein there is an abnormality in the fovea which is part of the eye. The fovea is an important part of the retina in the eye, and it is composed of various cone cells that are responsible for giving good vision. The fovea part of the eye is situated in the center of the macula which is also part of the retina. This part is responsible for providing details in what the eyes can see. In terms of visual acuity or reaching 20/20 vision, the macular part of the retina is the one responsible for it. Since the fovea is situated in the macula, any abnormalities in these parts may collectively be known as foveal or macular hypoplasia. Based on medical terminology, when there is hypoplasia, it simply means that the macula or foveal part of the retina is underdeveloped, and this may cause vision problems in people.
Doctors may easily discern if a person has foveal hypoplasia. The absence of the foveal reflex is one indication that a person’s fovea or macula has not developed normally. Under the ophthalmoscope, the fovea typically emits some kind of a bright reflex. With this reflex absent, it may be a sign of hypoplasia. The presence of blood vessels in the foveal area and when there is no yellow pigment in the macular region are also instances that may point to hypoplasia in the foveal region.
People with foveal or macular hypoplasia often present with problems in visual acuity. In simple terms, those with problems in their retina, macula, or fovea will have problems with their vision. Some will have blurring while others will have problems in terms of distinguishing light and different colors. Some people may also experience some shaking in their eyes which is medically known as nystagmus. As for treatment and management, people with foveal and/or macular hypoplasia are often advised to undergo surgery similar to that done in cataract patients.