Macular Pucker

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A macular pucker is a condition in which a thin, elastic, nearly transparent membrane forms over the surface of the macula and causes the macula to be wrinkled.

As a part of the normal aging process, the vitreous gel turns into a liquid, shrinks, and pulls away from the retina. Although the vitreous is usually only loosely attached to the retina and pulls free without a problem, sometimes the vitreous gel is more strongly attached. When the vitreous pulls away it damages the surface of the macula. In an attempt to heal this raw, damaged surface, the eye forms a thin scar or membrane over this area. The membrane then contracts and forms wrinkles in the macula. Consequently, straight-ahead vision becomes distorted or blurred.

Treatment

A surgical procedure called vitrectomy can be performed to remove this macular pucker. The purpose of the surgery is to carefully remove this membrane that has caused the macula to be wrinkled, and also to remove a portion of the vitreous gel.

The vitreous gel is replaced with a clear saltwater solution, similar to that which the eye produces normally. Once the membrane has been removed, the macula will have a chance to smooth again, so that the vision can be less distorted. In all cases, the surgery can be done as an outpatient procedure under local anesthesia.

Eighty-five to 90 percent of patients notice a measurable improvement in vision after this surgery. With a good outcome, your eyesight will be improved and/or your distortion will be reduced.