What Causes Epiretinal Membranes (ERMs) & Macular Pucker?
A gel-like substance called vitreous fluid fills the space between the lens and the retina. The fluid may slightly pull back from the retina as a person ages, which triggers our body’s natural healing process over the damaged area.
This healing process forms scar tissue that helps reattach the vitreous fluid onto the retina and causes ERMs. At first, ERMs initially do not disrupt a person’s central vision. However, it can build up over time and result in a macular pucker, which distorts vision.
What Are The Symptoms Of Macular Pucker?
The symptoms can manifest in different ways depending on the location and severity of ERMs. These include:
- Minor to serious visual difficulties.
- A gray spot in your field of vision
- Blind spots in your vision
- Blurry and distorted vision
- Difficulties when reading, driving or observing fine details, etc
- Noticing straight lines becoming wavy in your vision
- Noticing the presence of floaters and experiencing frequent flashes
It is recommended for anyone experiencing any combination of the above symptoms to schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist at Bukit Tinggi Medical Centre’s EYECENTRIC for diagnosis and subsequent treatment of the condition.
How is macular pucker diagnosed?
Macular pucker is usually discovered and diagnosed during a regular eye examination. During the examination, eye drops are administered to dilate the pupil and assist with a thorough health evaluation of the inner eye using specialised lenses.
Procedures like ocular ultrasound or Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) help an eye doctor identify issues on the retina with improved scrutiny. OCT also helps eye professionals capture detailed snapshots of the retina, allowing for proper identification of ERMS and its location.
Who Is At Risk Of Macular Pucker?
One of the common risk factors associated with macular pucker is a person’s age due to its association with the shrinking of the vitreous fluid. Other risk factors include:
- Eye swelling
- Retinal tears
- Complications from prior eye surgeries
- Eye injuries
- Abnormal blood vessel issues found in the retina
- Retinal detachment that pulls vitreous fluid from the retina
Treatment of macular pucker
Mild forms of macular pucker usually don’t require treatment as they are unlikely to disrupt vision. It is also possible for macular pucker to resolve itself once the ERMs disconnect from the retina naturally.
Patients with severe cases of macular pucker tend to be prescribed a vitrectomy by ophthalmologists. Vitrectomy is a surgical process that uses a pocket of gas, oil or air to remove vitreous fluid between the lens and retina and its subsequent replacement and reorients the retina into its original shape.
While gas and air bubbles are naturally reabsorbed over time, an oil bubble requires medical removal after a few months.
How can I schedule a full eye examination?
BTMC’s specialised eye centre, EYECENTRIC, hosts many highly skilled eye healthcare professionals that include surgeons, optometrists, ophthalmologists, and more.
Every specialist is dedicated to EYECENTRIC’s mission to provide holistic eye care and ensure your family’s eye health for years to come. Schedule an appointment now for a comprehensive eye examination with our eye care specialists.