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Macular Pucker

Macular pucker (also knows as Epiretinal Membrane or ERM) happens when wrinkles, creases or bulges form on your macula. The macula must lie flat against the back of your eye to work properly. When the macula wrinkles or bulges, your central vision is affected.

With macular pucker, things can look wavy, or you may have trouble seeing details. You might notice a gray or cloudy area in your central vision. You may even have a blank spot in your central vision. Macular pucker will not affect your peripheral (side) vision.

What Causes a Macular Pucker?

Age is the most common cause of macular pucker. As you get older, the vitreous begins to shrink and pull away from the retina. Usually the vitreous pulls away with no problems. But sometimes the vitreous can stick to the retina. Scar tissue forms, causing the retina and macula to wrinkle or bulge.

Aging is the most common risk factor for macular pucker. People who have other eye problems may also get a macular pucker. These problems include:

  • Vitreous detachment, where the eye’s vitreous pulls away from the retina

  • Torn or detached retina

  • Swelling inside the eye

  • Serious damage to the eye (from surgery or injury)

  • Problems with blood vessels in the retina

Diagnosis

Macular pucker is diagnosed through a dilated eye exam by an ophthalmologist and can be confirmed using  optical coherence tomography (OCT). With OCT, a machine scans the back of your eye. This provides very detailed pictures of the retina and macula.

Treatment

How you are treated depends on your symptoms.  If your symptoms are mild, you might not need any treatment. Instead, you may need to change your glasses or contact lens prescription to improve your vision. You might also choose to wear bifocals when you are looking at something close. Eye drops, medicine, and laser surgery do not help vision if you have macular pucker. Surgery called vitrectomy is the best way to treat macular pucker patients with severe symptoms. We removes the vitreous gel that is pulling on your macula and scar tissue on your macula. This flattens the macula, returning it to its proper position. It is likely your vision will slowly improve. However, your sight may not be as good as it was before macular pucker. 

Please call now to schedule an appointment to be evaluated for macular pucker.