3 Things You Should Know About Macular Pucker

A macular pucker (also known as an epiretinal membrane) is an eye condition that affects the central retina, or macula. It happens when the macula, instead of laying flat against the back of your eye, becomes wrinkled or bulges.

When a macular pucker forms, your vision can become blurry or mildly distorted, and straight lines can appear wavy. People suffering from macular pucker can also have trouble seeing small details and may notice that letters are hard to read.

In rare cases a macular pucker can lead to a small break in the macula, called a macular hole.

1.    Who’s At Risk?

The condition is more common in people over 60 years old, but anyone may develop macular pucker at any age.

People who have other eye problems such as posterior vitreous detachment, damage to the eye from a previous injury, and those who have floaters or problems with blood vessels in the retina, may also be at risk of developing a macular pucker.

2.    How Is a Macular Pucker Diagnosed?

Your doctor will check for a macular pucker with the help of a dilated eye exam. This test is quick and painless and simply involves placing drops in your eyes that dilate the pupils and allow for a more thorough examination. Your eye doctor will look at the macula from several different angles using an ophthalmoscope, which is like a magnifying glass with a light attached to it.

If your eye doctor thinks you might have a macular pucker they will also want you to have a test called coherence tomography (OCT). An OCT is similar to an ultrasound, just that it uses light waves instead of sound waves, and allows your doctor to scan the back of your eye and get very detailed pictures of the retina and macula.

3.    What’s The Treatment?

Depending on your symptoms, treatment options can include:

  • If your symptoms are mild, your doctor may recommend wearing bifocals when you are looking at something close, and getting a change in your glasses or contact lens prescription to improve your vision.
  • If your vision is bothering your quality of life, or has shown to be progressively worsening, you might need to get a surgery called vitrectomy. A vitrectomy involves having the vitreous and scar tissue on your macula removed. This flattens the macula, returning it to its proper position.

Surgery generally takes less than an hour and patients can resume normal activity within a few days. In most cases their vision will improve but since every patient is different, some will see a large improvement and others only slightly.

There are also some risks that may follow a macular pucker surgery. Fortunately, complications are rare but can include:


If you have noticed changes in your vision and suspect that you might suffer from a macular pucker, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Your ophthalmologist can present you with your treatment options and advice whether having surgery is recommended for your particular condition.

Post Author: Frida Anders