Macular pucker happens when a thin film of transparent tissue forms on the surface of the retina, wrinkling and distorting the normally smooth retinal architecture in the macular center. The retina is a very delicate layer of nerve tissue that lines the inside wall of the eye and functions much like the film inside a camera. The retina transmits images back to the vision center of the brain. For images to be in focus, the retina must be smooth and compact. In cases of macular pucker, vision is wavy and blurry due to the presence of this layer of extra tissue on the retinal surface.
What Causes Macular Pucker?
Macular pucker can develop on its own as an aging change, but can also occur after previous eye surgery, laser surgery or inflammation. It may also occur after treatment for a retinal tear. There is no known prevention. This condition is not related to macular degeneration.
How Is Macular Pucker Treated?
Surgery is the definitive treatment for macular pucker. Microsurgical instruments are introduced into the eye to remove the vitreous humor (gel-like substance that fills the eye cavity) and then peel the tissue from the retinal surface, causing the retina to relax and regain its normal shape and configuration. Vision usually improves, but it may take up to four to six months for complete healing. In mild cases of macular pucker where the vision is not significantly affected, periodic observation is recommended. Infrequent but significant complications from macular pucker surgery include retinal detachment, bleeding, infection and macular scarring.
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