What is a Macular Pucker?
A macular pucker is scar tissue on the eye's macula, which is located in the center of the retina—your eye's light-sensitive tissue. As we grow older, the thick vitreous gel in the middle of our eyes begins to shrink and pull away from the macula. Sometimes, as the vitreous pulls away, it causes microscopic damage to the surface of the retina (this is different than a macular hole).
In order to heal itself, the retina forms scar tissue, or an epiretinal membrane, on the retina's surface. When that scar tissue contracts, it creates a wrinkle, or pucker, usually without any effect on your central vision. However, if the scar tissue is located on the macula, your sharp central vision becomes blurred and distorted or you may notice a blind spot in the center of your vision. The good news is that for most people with a macular pucker, vision does not get progressively worse. And usually a pucker affects only one eye, although it may affect the other eye later.
If you notice a change in your vision, contact your board-certified Retina Specialist at Retina Vitreous Associates for a consultation.
What are some other terms for macular pucker?
- Epiretinal membrane
- Preretinal membrane
- Cellophane maculopathy
- Retina wrinkle
- Surface-wrinkling retinopathy
- Premacular fibrosis
- Internal limiting membrane disease
What is the difference between a macular pucker and a macular hole?
A macular pucker and a macular hole are different conditions, although they both occur when a shrinking vitreous pulls on the retina and both cause similar symptoms (distorted, blurred vision). When the "pulling" causes microscopic damage, the retina lays down scar tissue to heal itself; a macular pucker can be the result. If the shrinking vitreous pulls too hard, it can tear the retina, creating a macular hole, which is more serious.
What are the symptoms of a macular pucker?
With a macular pucker, you may notice that your central vision is blurry or slightly distorted, and straight lines might appear wavy. You may have difficulty seeing fine detail and reading small print. There may be a gray or cloudy area in the center of your vision, or perhaps even a blind spot. Vision loss due to a macular pucker can range from no loss to severe sight impairment, though severe vision loss is uncommon.
Contact your Retina Vitreous Associates Ophthalmologist if you notice any of these symptoms.