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Macular Degeneration

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Macular pucker or epiretinal membrane (ERM) or vitreomacular traction (VMT)

Subtle microscopic scar tissue may develop on the retina, either independently or attached to the vitreous gel. This scar tissue may or may not anatomically affect the macula, or center of the retina.

Many configurations of macular pucker/epiretinal membrane/vitreomacular traction may stay stable for a very long time. In these cases the patient can be monitored a couple times a year. If the configuration changes surgery can be considered. The patient can also self-monitor with an Amsler Grid.

In other patients the configuration may be unstable and prone to central vision loss, or the patient may have already lost significant central vision. In these patients, surgery may be considered. If surgery is considered, vision can have some improvement 60 to 70% of the time. In 25 to 30% of patients, surgery may be "anatomically successful" and go well but the vision may not noticeably improve. 1 to 2% of patients may see worse after surgery than before. Like any type of eye surgery, the risks of surgery include bleeding, infection, retinal detachment, and permanent loss of vision. These risks are small and in most cases can be dealt with successfully, but the risks do exist and patients can experience vision loss.

Click here to read information from the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health on macular pucker or epiretinal membrane.