Macular Pucker

Connecticut Retina Consultants

Ophthalmologists & Retina Specialists located in New Haven, CT & Fairfield County, CT

If you have blurry or distorted vision or a gray area or blind spot in your central vision, it could be a macular pucker. The eye experts at Connecticut Retina Consultants, with locations in New Haven, Hamden, Madison, Trumbull, and Fairfield, Connecticut, evaluate your vision and offer treatment, if necessary, for this sometimes benign condition. Call the most convenient location to have changes in your vision evaluated and learn more about macular pucker.

Macular Pucker Q & A

What is a macular pucker?

A macular pucker is also known as an epiretinal membrane or cellophane maculopathy. It occurs due to the formation of scar tissue on the surface of the central retina (macula).

The macula provides the sharp, central vision necessary for reading, driving, and seeing fine detail. If you have a macular pucker, you may experience blurred and distorted central vision. A macular pucker is a different condition than macular degeneration and a macular hole. These other conditions have similar symptoms, but different causes.

What are the symptoms of a macular pucker?

Suspect a macular pucker if you notice blurry or mildly distorted vision. Straight lines may appear wavy and fine detail and small print are hard to decipher. You may have a blind spot or gray area in the center of your vision.

Symptoms can vary from no loss to severe loss, which is uncommon. Once you present with symptoms, the condition usually stays the same. Progression isn’t common. It usually affects one eye, but with time can affect both.

What causes a macular pucker?

Your eye’s interior is mostly filled with vitreous, a gel-like substance that fills about 80% of the eye and helps it maintain a round shape. The vitreous contains millions of fine fibers that are attached to the surface of the retina. As you get older, the vitreous slowly recedes from the retinal surface. This is a normal process and may cause floaters, but usually isn’t serious.

In some cases, though, the vitreous pulls away from the retina and causes microscopic damage to the retina’s surface. The retina starts to form scar tissue on the surface of the retina and when this tissue contracts, it causes a pucker, which potentially distorts vision.

What is the treatment for macular pucker?

If the scar tissue is thin and mild, a patient may be asymptomatic and not require surgery. But, if the scarring is thick and contracted, it may distort the central retina, causing decreased vision or metamorphopsia (waviness or distortion of vision). Pars plana vitrectomy surgery combined with peeling of this membrane may be performed to remove this scar tissue and restore the normal anatomy of the macula, resulting in improved vision. In severe cases, injections into the eye can also help.

What is a macular hole?

Macular holes describe a circular defect, or hole, in the macular area that develops due to abnormal separation of the vitreous gel from the retinal surface as you age. You may experience loss of vision and a central blind spot or distorted vision as a result. Women are more likely than men to develop macular holes. Usually, just one eye is affected, but both eyes develop macular holes in 10%-20% of the cases. Macular holes are treated with vitrectomy surgery. 

If you have blurred vision and other symptoms of a macular pucker, call one of the convenient locations of Connecticut Retina Consultants today for an evaluation.