Epiretinal membrane is a fibrous scar tissue which grows over the retina (which is the film layer at the back of your eye which allows us to see). It is also known as Macula Pucker or Cellophane Maculopathy. Symptoms appear when this membrane starts to contract causing visual distortion whereby straight lines appear crooked or wavy (called metamorphopsia see below).
Image Credit ASRS
Who gets a Epiretinal Membrane
- Older people (the risk increases with age)
- Previous inflammation in the eye (such as uveitis)
- Previous eye or retina surgery
- Previous eye trauma
Symptoms of Epiretinal Membrane
Although the symptoms are similar, an Epiretinal Membrane is different from Age-Related Macula Degeneration (ARMD) because the symptoms of a membrane are more gradual.
The symptoms are:
- Blurred Central Vision
- Distorted Vision around the Central area (called Metamorphopsia)
Treatment of Epiretinal Membrane
Some epiretinal membranes do not need treatment if they do not cause much visual disturbance. They need to be monitored regularly by your eye doctor and using an OCT retina scan. If however, the vision gets worse, then treatment is required. Treatment for epiretinal membrane involves surgery called Vitrectomy (to remove the vitreous gel to remove the pulling forces on the macula & retina) followed by careful Peeling and Excision of the membrane over the macula.
Click to view Prof Findl video on Epiretinal Membrane
- You will need to apply eye medication to prevent infection and to reduce inflammation.
- You may need to posture your head if gas or silicone oil has been put into your eye during the procedure. Your eye doctor will advise you where necessary
The visual recovery from the surgery varies from person to person and can take up to 1-2 months to see some improvement before the eye stabilises at 6 months. Most patients’s symptoms get better but some may stay the same or even get worse.
Check your vision regularly (at least once a week) using Amsler Grid and Vision Chart to monitor your condition
Disclaimer. TELEME blog posts contains general information about health conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such.
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