Epiretinal Membrane & Macular Pucker
Scar tissue can develop on the surface of the retina right over the macula (focusing point of the eye). This scar tissue makes the macula wrinkle. The scar tissue on the surface of the retina is called an epiretinal membrane or macular pucker. An epiretinal membrane can cause visual distortion or blurriness.
Epiretinal membranes may occur in approximately 2% of the population over 50 years of age and as much as 20% in people over 75 years of age. While the presence of epiretinal membrane can be common, the treatment depends on severity of symptoms and how it affects daily activities.
Careful evaluation by a retina specialists is the best way to diagnose an epiretinal membrane. If there is a slight vision decline then observation may be the best option. If the visual decline or distortion is worse then a vitrectomy and membrane peeling procedure may be recommended to remove the film. During the procedure, the specialist utilizes fine instruments to delicately lift the film and strip it off the macula. This procedure is usually performed under local anesthesia and light sedation.
Studies have demonstrated that approximately 65% to 90% of patients have better vision after a the surgical procedure when the procedure is indicated. Visual improvement following epiretinal membrane removal procedure happens steadily as the eye heals.