Macular Degeneration vs. Macular Pucker or Epiretinal Membrane 1
Do you Know the Difference between Macular Degeneration and Macular Pucker/Epiretinal Membrane?
In the ever-changing world of research, many new advancements in technology have come about. These advancements have changed the way eye doctors look at macular degeneration (AMD). Also, they have changed the way they see macular pucker (MP) as well. Research started in the late 1800's and has given doctors more of an understanding of the two conditions.
In this article, we will discuss the differences between the two conditions. The point of this article is to keep you informed of the latest advancements, as well as the answers you seek. If you or your loved ones suffer from AMD or MP, then we recommend you read this article.
What Is Macular Degeneration?
AMD is an eye condition that results from damage to the macula, or the center of vision. Many people suffer from this condition and AMD is also the cause of severe vision loss in many of the elderly. The damage that AMD causes is not curable, but the condition is treatable in most cases.
Doctors today use a variety of treatment methods to slow down and stop the damage that AMD causes. Treatments often begin with AREDS2 vitamin supplementation and diet/lifestyle changes (like removing smoking from your life!) and may progress to injectable medications like Lucentis, Eylea, Macugen, and Visudyne. These are all administered in office by an ophthalmologist.
What Is Macular Pucker?
A macular pucker is scar tissue that has formed on the eye’s macula. The macula is in the center of the retina. It is one of the components in the eye that makes the eye light-sensitive. When enough scar tissue builds up, it makes the macula less sensitive to the light and may inhibit light filtration. MP (or Epiretinal Membrane) gives the appearance of wrinkled cellophane over the macula, so this condition is sometimes also known as Cellophane Maculopathy.
So now you are likely asking yourself if AMD and MP are related in any way. The answer is no. The two conditions are as different as night and day. So different in fact that they both take two different treatments. Where AMD takes supplements, laser, and injections to treat, macular pucker requires no treatment in the early stages. The blurry effects that the scar tissue has on the macula is minimal in most cases.
The condition becomes more likely as you age. The vitreous fluid in the eye shrinks and pulls away from the retina. That is what causes blurry vision in some elderly people. If the vision loss from MP is significant, extensive procedures (like a vitrectomy) can be done to treat it...but only in the most severe cases!
Macular degeneration and macular pucker are two different issues, but they can both be present at the same time. If you are having blurry vision, we recommend you visit your eye care specialist as soon as possible. Seeing your eye doctor now can reduce the risk of vision loss and ensure great vision for as long as possible. Do you have either of these conditions? Let’s hear about your experience below!
Dr. Travis Zigler
- Dr. Travis Zigler
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