Macular Pucker

David Lazar, MD

If you’re having problems with blurred or mildly distorted vision, such as straight lines appearing wavy, it could be related to scar tissue at the back of your eye. This is known as a macular pucker. David Lazar, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist and vitreoretinal specialist who focuses his extensive medical skills on treating diseases and conditions affecting the back of the eye, including macular pucker. Your vision is his top priority. Schedule a visit with Dr. Lazar today at Lazar Retina in West Los Angeles.

Macular Pucker Q & A

What is macular pucker?

Macular pucker is a condition that occurs due to scarring of the macula tissue at the back of your eye. Physicians may also refer to this as epiretinal membrane (ERM), cellophane retinopathy, or preretinal fibrosis.

The macula is located at the center of your retina, which is the light-sensitive tissue that lines the back of your eye. The macula provides detailed central vision and is necessary for driving, reading, and a multitude of other tasks you accomplish throughout the day.

What are the symptoms of macular pucker?

Along with distorted vision that may make straight lines appear wavy, scarring across the macula can cause:

  • Difficulty seeing fine detail
  • Trouble reading small print
  • A gray area in the center of your vision
  • A blind spot in your central vision

These visual disturbances can vary, ranging from very mild to severe. Macular pucker is easily spotted on a comprehensive, dilated eye exam by a vitreoretinal specialist such as Dr. Lazar.

What causes macular pucker?

Macular pucker is most often due to the natural aging process. About 80% of your eye is filled with a gel-like substance that gives your eye its round shape. This gel is known as the vitreous and contains millions of tiny fibers attached to the retina.

As you age, the vitreous slowly shrinks and begins to pull away from the retina. It’s a normal process that often causes few symptoms other than an increase in eye floaters, those tiny cobweb-like strands or specks that appear to float across your visual field.

Sometimes, however, as the vitreous pulls away from the retina, it causes microscopic damage to the retina’s surface. As your body heals these tiny wounds, scar tissue may form over the macula. This can cause a wrinkle or macular pucker that may blur or otherwise distort your central vision.       

What is the treatment for macular pucker?

If the visual disturbance caused by macular scarring is significant enough to interfere with your daily activities, Dr. Lazar may recommend a rather delicate surgical procedure called a vitrectomy. This procedure typically requires only local anesthetic to numb the eye.

During the surgery, Dr. Lazar removes the vitreous fluid to allow access to the scar tissue, which he also surgically removes. He then replaces the vitreous with a saline solution that mimics the consistency of the natural vitreous fluid.

To protect your eye health and vision, schedule a comprehensive eye exam and retinal evaluation with Dr. Lazar today. Call the office or book your visit online.