Macular Pucker

Macular pucker, or epiretinal membrane describes an abnormal layer of tissue (often referred to as “scar tissue”) that can grow over the surface of the macula, the center of vision.  This can result in wrinkling of the retina leading to dim or distorted vision.  There is usually no identifiable cause, but many conditions may be the source of a macular pucker including: a torn or detached retina, inflammation within the eye, injury to the eye, problems with the retinal blood vessels and vitreous detachment or aging of the gel inside the eye.

What are the symptoms of a macular pucker?

The most common symptom of a macular pucker is distorted vision where straight lines like doorways or stop signs often appear wavy. This distortion can be mild, moderate or severe.

What is the treatment for a macular pucker?

If the symptoms of distortion and decreased vision are mild, no treatment is necessary. Eye drops, medications and laser surgery will not improve the vision. Sometimes changing glasses by improving the magnification can help.

The only treatment for worsening vision is vitrectomy surgery where tiny instruments are used to remove the wrinkling in the retina. Usually the macula flattens out and the symptoms slowly improve. Vision does not usually return all the way to normal, but it does improve in most cases.

Surgery is not necessary for everyone who has a macular pucker. This is an elective procedure and if patients are not bothered by symptoms, typically they are simply examined annually.

Photo showing a macular pucker

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