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Epiretinal Membrane (Macular Pucker)

 

Definition

Epiretinal membrane is a disease of the eye in response to changes in the vitreous humor or less commonly, diabetes.  It is also called macular pucker.  With age, the vitreous humor liquifies and pulls away fom the retina, creating a posterior vitreous detachment (PVD).  After a PVD occurs, a tansparent layer of cells can form in the macula.  This can create tension on the retina like a scar tissue which may bulge and pucker, or even cause swelling or macular edema.  often this results in visaul blur.  The distortion can make objects look different in size.  Once present, the macular pucker will remain in most patients.  Worsening of vision with macular pucker can be treated with vitrectomy surgery.

Surgery

Surgeons can often remove or peel the membrane through the sclera using a procedure called a vitrectomy.  Surgery is not usually recommended unless the distortions are severe enough to interfere with daily living. 

Risks

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Elevated eye pressure
  • Retinal Detachment

 

Cataracts frequently develop following vitrctomy surgery, requirring cataract surgery.

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