They happen when fibers in the eye pull away and tear the retina. Macular holes can threaten vision and force people to go under the knife to save their sight. While surgery used to be their only option, something new is giving patients a first-of-its-kind alternative.

The FDA has approved a new drug called Jetrea. Jetrea is injected directly into the eye. It breaks down proteins that cause the condition.

Two studies showed the drug closed macular holes in 26 percent of patients; that's one in four who didn't need surgery.

The most common side effects are blurry vision and eye floaters. Jetrea is approved for macular holes. Researchers hope the drug could one day used to treat other eye conditions, such as macular degeneration.

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