Eye Conditions, Eye Surgery

The macula is the central area if the eye’s retina and is responsible for processing clear images. The macula is located behind a clear jelly like material that fills the center cavity of the eye which is called the “vitreous body”. Normally the macula is flat and when it receives focused images generates impulses that allows the eye to see clearly.

As a result of age or health conditions the vitreous body can shrink and create scar formation over the macula. If this happens the macula crinkles and distorts the pattern of images the macula generates. This condition is known as “macular wrinkle”.

macular wrinkle

Color photo of a macular wrinkle

Macular Wrinkle Symptoms

Typically symptoms of macular wrinkling are:

  1. Distorted or wavy vision.
  2. Dull cloudy central vison while peripheral vision is unaffected.
  3. A central blind spot with vision loss.

Diagnostic studies to evaluate and monitor macular wrinkles usually can be performed during a routine examination. An early macular wrinkle can be photographed for future comparison. If the wrinkle advances a macular OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) can scan the eye. This is a non-invasive multidimensional representation of the macula that is useful in monitoring the progression of the condition.

oct macular wrinkle

OCT of a macular wrinkle

Advanced Cases of Macular Wrinkle

In more advanced cases a fluorescein angiogram may be needed. This is a test where a light sensitive sterile dye is administered in a forearm vein. As the dye circulates in the eye it is photographed and can give information as to the status of the macular wrinkle.

fluorescein angiogram macular wrinkle

Fluorescein angiogram of a macular wrinkle. (Top photo before dye circulates and bottom photo as dye circulates in the eye)

When a macular wrinkle advances to the degree it affects vision it may have to be surgically removed. The procedure for the removal is called “vitrectomy” which is generally treated by an eye surgeon and is an outpatient operation.

Footnote: Macular wrinkles could have different names based on severity and physician description. Macular wrinkles have been described as “epiretinal membranes”, “surface wrinkles”, “macular puckers”, Surface wrinkling retinopathy” and other synonyms.