Epiretinal membrane, also known as macular pucker, is a disease related to the eye caused in response to changes in the vitreous humour.
When the immune system of the body tries to protect the retina, the cells come together in the macular area as the vitreous ages and pulls away in posterior vitreous detachment (PVD).
The PVD is capable of damaging the retina stimulating a mass of cells and fluid to seep out of blood vessels, inflammation, and leucocyte response.
The scar tissue starts forming on the eye’s macula, which is located in the center of the light-sensitive tissue called the retina. The macula is responsible for providing the sharp and central vision which is needed for reading, driving, and seeing the fine details. Due to a macular pucker, your central vision may get distorted or blurred with time.
Macular pucker is also known by several other names like epiretinal membrane, preretinal membrane, cellophane maculopathy, retina wrinkle, surface wrinkling retinopathy, premacular fibrosis, and internal limiting membrane disease.
The most area of the eye’s interior is filled with vitreous, which is found in 80 per cent of the eye area and helps the eye maintain its round shape. The vitreous consists of fine fibers attached to the surface of the retina. With age, the vitreous starts shrinking and pulling away from retinal surface which is known as vitreous detachment. This process is quite normal and mostly does not have any bad effects apart from small increases in floaters.
But, in some cases when the vitreous starts to pull away from the retina, there is a damage caused to the retina’s surface. When this takes place, the retinal starts to heal the damaged area and forms a scar tissue, or an epiretinal membrane, on the retinal surface. This scar tissue stays attached to the retinal surface and when it causes the retina to form a pucker not having any effect on the vision. But, when the scar tissue forms on the macula, the central vision becomes blurred and distorted.
Commonly, the vision loss due to macular pucker can vary between no loss to severe loss. However, severe loss of vision is very uncommon. People who suffer from macular pucker may experience a distorted or blurry vision and straight lines may appear wavy to them.
They may also lose the ability to read or notice fine details. Patients may also develop a gray area in the center of the vision or even a blind spot.
Although there is not much that you can do about preventing macular pucker but, eating healthy and exercising regularly can help you to stay away from the disease.
Image courtesy: Getty Images
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