What is an Epiretinal Membrane?
In this condition (sometimes referred to as cellophane maculopathy / epimacular membrane / macular pucker) a very thin layer of scar tissue forms on the surface of the central retina, resulting in distorted and/or blurred vision.
What testing might be done?
Mr Alexander will examine your eye following the use of eye drops that temporarily enlarge your pupils. He may arrange retinal photographs and an OCT scan to determine the extent of damage from the epiretinal membrane.
How is an epiretinal membrane treated?
If an epiretinal membrane affects vision, the only way to treat it is to remove the membrane surgically. This is achieved by an operation called a vitrectomy, where specialised instruments remove the jelly-like substance that normally fills the centre of the eye, called vitreous. The membrane can then be carefully peeled from the retinal surface. Mr Alexander may leave a gas bubble inside the eye, which will which disappear on its own after a few weeks.
Surgery for epiretinal membrane removal speeds up the onset of cataract, which is a very treatable cause of worsening vision. Mr Alexander may offer you combined surgery with cataract extraction at the same time as removal of the epiretinal membrane, to spare the need for cataract surgery in the near future.
What can I expect for my vision after surgery for epiretinal membrane?
Following membrane removal, the vision is typically more blurred and it can take months for it to improve. The operation is usually successful in reducing the distortion in vision due to an epiretinal membrane.