Epiretinal membrane, also referred to as macular pucker, is a wrinkling of the retina in the macular area caused by the contraction of the transparent membrane lying on the retinal surface. This can be a result of scar tissue on the surface of the retina that has begun to contract. The wrinkling of this membrane causes visual disturbances including distortion, double vision and generalized vision loss. The only treatment for this disorder is surgery to remove the epiretinal membrane. Surgery is generally not recommended if the visual loss is only mild. However, if the symptoms are significant, a vitrectomy is performed prior to removing the membrane. During the surgery, the surgeon enters the eye through a small incision and using a specialized fine cutting instrument called intraocular forceps, the membrane is gently peeled away from the surface of the retina. The surgery generally proceeds under local anesthesia.
Epiretinal membranes generally occur in otherwise healthy eyes as a result of a posterior vitreous detachment. However, other causes of this disorder include association with retinal blood vessel problems and following repair of a retinal detachment or retinal tear.