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Updated on December 28, 2020

Epiretinal Membrane

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.

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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

Post-Treatment Care

  • 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

Prognosis

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. 

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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. 

If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

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