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Epiretinal Membrane

What is an Epiretinal membrane?

Epiretinal membrane (ERM) is a cellophane tissue that forms on the surface of the retina at the back wall of the eye. Over time, the membrane may pull on the retina leading to decreased vision.

Most of the ERMs are idiopathic and caused by an age-related condition called posterior vitreous detachment (vitreous gel inside the eye separated from the retina).

Other ERMs can be associated with certain conditions f.ex. previous retinal tear or retinal detachment, diabetic retinopathy, vascular occlusion.

What are the symptoms of an Epiretinal membrane?

Most of the patients with ERMs are asymptomatic. However, ERMs can progress slowly leading to distortion and blurriness. Distortion is a symptom in which normally straight objects will occur ‘wavy’.

Consultant Ophthalmologist and Vitreoretinal Surgeon

What is the treatment for an Epiretinal membrane?

Surgery may be recommended for ERMs which progress and cause decreased vision.

The surgical procedure to remove ERM is called ‘Vitrectomy’. Vitrectomy involves the removal of the vitreous gel and peeling the ERM from the surface of the retina. The surgery takes c. 1 hour and is usually done under local anaesthetic. Severe complications, such as loss of vision, are very rare. If gas bubble is used, you cannot travel by plane until the gas is gone and the visual recovery is longer.

Most of the patients will experience improved vision and decreased distortion after the surgery. The duration of the ERM and the degree of pulling on the retina may influence the final outcome. The maximum visual improvement is seen at 3 months post-surgery.

If you would like to find out more or to book an appointment, please get in touch.