Macular pucker, also known as an epiretinal membrane, is most commonly associated with people over 50. It is the formation of scar tissue over the macula, or the central part of the retina. The retina is the light-sensitive film at the back of the eye that converts light into an electrical signal that can be interpreted by the brain.
The macula is a critical part of the eye and is responsible for detailed vision. Although very small, the macula has the highest concentration of the cells in the retina that change light to electricity, called photoreceptors. These are the cells that allow us to read, see faces, and drive a car. Damage to these cells is the cause of vision loss in macular degeneration.
The most obvious symptom of a macular pucker is a change in one's vision, although it may range from no or little to severe distortion. People with macular pucker may notice their vision is distorted or blurry, and straight lines may appear wavy. They may also have trouble reading small print or seeing fine details. It is possible to have a gray area in their vision or to just have a central blind spot. An amsler grid is useful in detecting these changes. Using an amsler grid on a daily basis is a good way to determine if one's vision is getting worse.