Macular Degeneration vs. Macular Pucker or Epiretinal Membrane

Macular Degeneration vs. Macular Pucker or Epiretinal Membrane 1

Macular Degeneration vs. Macular Pucker or Epiretinal Membrane

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!

One Love,

Dr. Travis Zigler, Eye Love

Dr. Travis Zigler

Macular Degeneration or Macular Hole? What’s the Difference?

Macular Degeneration or Macular Hole? What’s the Difference? 0

Macular Degeneration or Macular Hole? What’s the Difference?

Many people each year go blind or have severely impaired vision as a result of macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is a progressive eye disease, mostly associated with age, that affects millions of Americans each year. In fact, it’s the leading cause of vision loss for senior citizens in America.

What is Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration occurs in the macula, the region at the center of the eye’s retina. It’s the part of the eye that responds most readily to light and allows the eye to focus precisely on small regions, such as the print on a book or the pixels on a phone screen. The pigmentary cells in the macula deteriorate and break apart, leading to the buildup of a substance called drusen in the eye which impedes clear vision. Because the macula is closely associated with precise focus, you may still be able to see quite well on the periphery even as the macula breaks down.

Macular degeneration is simply the progressive breakdown of the macula over time, stemming from this “clogging” effect as drusen builds up within the eye. In contrast, macular hole is a more distinct problem. As the name implies, it is literally a hole that develops in the macula. It can begin as the result of trauma or disease, but like macular degeneration — it generally begins simply as the result of aging.

An explanation of Macular Holes

Unlike macular degeneration, which starts in the macula, a macular hole actually begins in the vitreous body, which is the “jelly” that fills your eye. As you age, the vitreous body naturally contracts over time, stressing the fibers that connect it to the retina. In addition, these miniscule fibers can break down, allowing the vitreous to move more than it should.  The combination of vitreous shrinkage and degradation of the connective fibers can actually pull the vitreous body far enough away from the macula to create a small tear in the macula itself. This tear typically develops first into a macular cyst and then, if left untreated, progresses to a macular hole.

A small fraction of macular holes will actually heal themselves; for the rest, treatment typically involves a surgery called vitrectomy. In this procedure, the vitreous body is actually severed from the eye and replaced with an artificial vitreous “bubble.” This bubble presses against the macula, sealing the macular hole and enabling it to heal. As the macula heals, the eye’s cavity will refill itself with fluid and the bubble will naturally be absorbed by the eye. This process will require the patient to lie face-down for anywhere from two days to three weeks. Yikes! As you can tell, this is an extensive procedure and will only be performed if vision loss is severe. Because this is a progressive problem that can lead to serious vision impairment or loss, it’s important to discuss any vision issues quickly with your doctor if you suspect you may be developing a macular hole.

Have you ever experienced a macular hole? What did you notice?

One Love,

Dr. Jenna Zigler, Eye Love

Dr. Jenna Zigler

What Is The Macular Degeneration Association and What Do They Do?

What Is The Macular Degeneration Association and What Do They Do? 0

What is the Macular Degeneration Association and what do they do?

The Macular Degeneration Association (MDA) is an organization that focuses on research, informing the public, and eventually curing macular degeneration. The MDA is a non-profit organization and relies on donations. The MDA is an IRS-recognized 501(c) (3) organization and contributions are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. Macular degeneration is an eye disease that causes the retina to deteriorate, which in turn causes blindness.

At this point, there is no cure for macular degeneration which is why it is imperative to have the MDA doing the research needed to find the cure. Age-related macular degeneration is the most common form of this disease and is responsible for 11 million people over the age of 55 being legally blind. In this article, we will discuss what they are striving to do, as well as what you can do to help aid the MDA. Remember that the MDA is a non-profit and relies completely on donors to continue functioning.

What Is the organization striving for?

The MDA’s goal is to bring awareness of the disease to the people and to work on finding a cure. They want to bring awareness of risk factors, new developments, and research and experimental findings to the public. The MDA feels that by bringing awareness to the public, as well as through fundraising efforts, that they can better serve those affected by macular degeneration, and their loved ones.

What are the organization’s strategies?

Their goal is to have all the information available for patients with macular degeneration and to educate those who are experiencing symptoms and who do not know what the symptoms mean. By educating those that have received a diagnosis, as well as those who have the symptoms, the MDA can inform patients what to expect so that they do not feel like they are going into this alone.

The MDA uses press packets, its informational website, and various publications to spread information on macular degeneration. They also hold workshops and collaborate with health educators to make resources available in classrooms.

What have they accomplished so far?

The MDA has provided education to millions of people and intends to tell many more over the coming years. Macular degeneration is a serious illness and at MDA they intend to treat the condition that way. Sadly, millions of people all over the world do not know that there are treatments to slow the process of macular degeneration, so education is necessary.

Another accomplishment is maintaining an informative website with everything needed to educate people all over the world. Using free video webcasts to better serve the AMD community locally, nationally and on an international level, the MDA has reached people on a global scale. The videos, seen in classrooms and doctor’s seminars all over the world, provide information needed to move forward. All this is made possible by generous donors.

How you can help

Donating is quite simple.The MDA gives two options to choose from. Security is a high priority at the MDA, so they give you the option to pay by debit or credit card, or to go through PayPal for added security. Another way to help is to share their website with everyone you know. Remember, we are all in the fight together to give treatment and education to the world. With your help, we can all strive to offer a cure one day.

One Love,

Dr. Travis Zigler, Eye Love

Dr. Travis Zigler

Other Macular Degeneration articles by Dr. Zigler: Managing Macular Degeneration: Diet and LifestyleHow Fast Does Macular Degeneration Progress?Will I Go Blind From Macular Degeneration?

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