The eye can be thought of as a camera, with two main parts, a lens, and a film. The film layer is called the retina and lines the back wall of the eye. In addition, there is a gel called the vitreous that is located in front of the retina and is very firmly adherent to it. The area of the retina responsible for central vision is called the macula.
What is Macular Pucker?
A macular pucker (epiretinal membrane) refers to a sheet of scar tissue located on the surface of the macula. This condition is common and does not affect the vision in most individuals. However, in some patients, the epiretinal membrane may exert strong enough tractional (pulling) forces on the retina that it causes a decrease in vision or distortion. Epiretinal membranes most commonly occur following the separation of the vitreous from the back wall of the eye (posterior vitreous detachment). A small percentage of patients acquire an epiretinal membrane due to prior episodes of inflammation, retinal tears, trauma, or retinal vascular diseases.
Symptoms & Treatment
Patients with no significant visual symptoms arising from an epiretinal membrane are typically monitored every six months. Epiretinal membranes may change slowly over time. Patients with visual symptoms as a result of an epiretinal membrane may be offered a safe and effective outpatient surgery called a vitrectomy. Most patients will experience a two-line or greater improvement in vision and reduction of distortion over a period of several months following surgery.