What Is an Epiretinal Membrane?
To maintain its shape, your eye is filled with a clear, gel-like fluid called vitreous. It’s natural for cells from within your eye to dislodge into the vitreous. Eventually, those displaced cells may begin sticking together to form a very thin, fibrous sheet of tissue at the back of the eye between the vitreous and the retina. This is one way for an epiretinal membrane to form.
The second way happens when the vitreous shrinks and pulls away from the retina, a natural occurrence as we age. In some patients, when the vitreous pulls away, it causes a small amount of damage to the retina. As the damage heals, it creates a thin layer of scar tissue.
An epiretinal membrane has several aliases — macular pucker, macular fibrosis, surface wrinkling retinopathy, or cellophane maculopathy. Regardless of which term you use, this condition is common and painless. For most patients, it causes almost no visual impairment and simply requires monitoring. Should surgery become necessary, Vance Thompson Vision’s world-class team is capable of not only performing the vitrectomy procedure, but guiding you through the aftercare as well.
Treatment for an Epiretinal Membrane
When an epiretinal membrane thickens and disrupts your vision, your doctor may recommend a vitrectomy, a procedure used for several retinal conditions.
Vitrectomy surgery is an outpatient procedure that removes the eye’s vitreous so that the epiretinal membrane can be separated from the macula more easily. Once the membrane has been peeled away, the eye is filled with a special saline solution that, over time, the body naturally replaces with vitreous.
Generally, patients experience mild pain and discomfort from this procedure that may include wearing an eye patch. It is important to follow all pre- and post-op instructions.