WHAT IS A MACULAR PUCKER?
The macula normally lies flat against the back of eye, like film lining the back of a camera. When wrinkles, creases or bulges form on the macula, this is known as macular pucker.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF MACULAR PUCKER?
Symptoms of macular pucker range from mild to severe and may involve one or both eyes.
Symptoms may include:
- blurred central (detail) vision;
- distorted, or “wavy,” vision;
- difficulty reading or performing tasks that require detail vision;
- gray and/or cloudy area in central vision;
- central blind spot.
Peripheral (side) vision is not affected.
WHAT CAUSES MACULAR PUCKER?
As you age, the vitreous—the clear, gel-like substance that fills the middle of your eye—begins to shrink and pull away from the retina. As the vitreous pulls away, scar tissue may develop on the macula. Sometimes the scar tissue can warp and contract, causing the retina to wrinkle or bulge.
Eye conditions associated include:
- vitreous detachment;
- torn or detached retina;
- a inflammation inside the eye;
- a severe trauma to the eye (from surgery or injury);
- disorders of the blood vessels in the retina.
HOW IS MACULAR PUCKER DETECTED?
Your ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) detects macular pucker by examining your retina. He or she may perform fluorescein angiography or optical coherence tomography (OCT) procedures that take special photographs of the eye. These photographs show if an abnormality exists in your retina.
HOW IS THIS CONDITION TREATED?
For mild symptoms, no treatment may be necessary. Updating your eyeglass prescription or wearing bifocals may improve vision. Eyedrops, medicines or laser surgery do not improve vision.
If a patient is experiencing more severe symptoms, the membrane can be removed surgically. Surgical removal involves a vitrectomy which requires removal of the vitreous gel that fills the back of the eye through three small incisions in the white of the eye. After removal of the gel, the membrane is gently peeled from the surface of the macula using fine, microscopic instruments. The eye is then filled with a saline solution, and the incisions are closed. Once the membrane has been removed, the retina can flatten back to its normal shape. Vision gradually improves over a period of weeks after the surgery.
The major risks of a vitrectomy include:
- Retinal detachment
- Loss of vision