Understanding What Causes Macular Pucker and How To Resolve It

macular pucker, blurry vision, University Retina

A macular pucker is a wrinkle or bulge on the eye’s macula due to scar tissue. The macula is in the center of the retina and is responsible for your sharp vision. It enables you to read, drive, and see small details. A macular pucker can interfere with all of those tasks.

Other names for macular pucker are

Macular pucker and age-related macular degeneration are both more common as you get older but are different health conditions.

Causes of Macular Pucker

As you age, the vitreous, or gel-like substance that fills 80% of the eye and gives it its round shape, shrinks. The vitreous contains many fine fibers that are attached to the surface of the retina.

When the vitreous shrinks, it pulls away from the retina. This is called vitreous detachment and is usually not a cause for concern. Some people may experience an increase in floaters, which are specks that drift across your line of vision, and flashers, or bursts of light, during a vitreous detachment.

But sometimes this pulling can damage the retina, and subsequently, scar tissue forms after the retina heals. The scar tissue can form anywhere on the retina, but when the scar forms over the macula and puckers or wrinkles, it can interfere with central vision. It does not impact peripheral vision and usually only affects one eye.

Symptoms of Macular Pucker

Vision impairment from macular pucker can be anywhere from mild to severe. When it’s mild, you may only notice some minor changes in your vision. When it’s more advanced, you may notice the following vision issues:

Severe vision loss is uncommon but can also be a symptom of a macular pucker. Because other eye issues can cause some or all of these symptoms, you should visit an eye doctor for an accurate diagnosis.

How to Resolve Macular Pucker

For mild symptoms, you may not need any treatment other than observation or a change in glasses or contacts. For more severe issues, a vitrectomy is an option.

A vitrectomy is a surgical procedure where a retina specialist removes the vitreous in your eye and replaces it with a salt solution. This salt solution substitution prevents it from shrinking and pulling away from the retina. The scar tissue is also removed during this procedure.

Post-surgery instructions include wearing an eye patch for a few weeks after the surgery and using medicated eyedrops to protect your eye against infection while it heals. Risks of a vitrectomy include infection of the eye and an increased likelihood of cataracts.

 

For more information about macular pucker, make an appointment with one of the board-certified ophthalmologists at University Retina with four locations in the greater Chicago area. You can also request a consultation using the form on this website.

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