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The macula is the most precious part of our retina because it gives us our central vison. We use our central vison for many things like reading, watching TV, driving and recognizing peoples face. A macular pucker can happen spontaneously in some people causing central vision loss. Macular pucker (also known as epiretinal membrane or cellophane maculopathy) is a very common condition which can lead to central visual blurring and distortion.
Source: America Academy of Ophthalmology
A macular pucker causes distortion in the vision in the eye that is affected. This is generally slow in onset usually taking months to years to develop. When looking with the affected eye, things that normally look straight, start to distorted or crinkly. Much like a non-ironed shirt.
Macular pucker occurs when certain cells in the eye grow out of control on top of the macula leading to distortion of the normal macular contour. It is present in approximately 25% of patients over the age of 60. Most macular puckers have no know cause, we call this idiopathic. However, they can be associated with diabetic retinopathy, retinal vein occlusions, ocular inflammation, eye injury or surgery, as well as retinal tears and detachments.
Macular holes are easily diagnosed in our office with a careful eye exam and the use of a special test called and OCT. This is an advanced laser scanning tool that uses computers to produce magnificent images of the macula in seconds.
Until recently a macular pucker meant you were to live the rest of your life with distorted vision. Today we are able to remove a macular pucker in many patients. The surgical procedure is called vitrectomy. Three micro openings are used to perform this procedure. The openings are so small they generally seal themselves so very often stiches are unnecessary. Vision and distortion do not improve immediately after this surgery and it frequently takes several months to achieve maximum postoperative vision. In general, while macular pucker surgery is not an emergency, the sooner the procedure is done the better the visual recover will be.
Dr. Gloth is a gifted retinal surgeon, have been fellowship in retinal surgery. He has with special expertise in the very gentle repair of macular holes for over 10 years.