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What is an Epiretinal Membrane (ERM)?

The retina is a light-sensitive area at the back of the eye that helps to capture the image. The macula is the name given to the sensitive part of the retina which enables us to see things clearly, such as details, peoples faces and distinguish colours.  A Macular Epiretinal Membrane occurs when scar tissue forms over the surface of the macula, the central part of the retina.

The Retina Clinic, London Epiretinal Membrane.

How does an Epiretinal Membrane affect my vision?

You may have a Macular Epiretinal Membrane without experiencing any associated symptoms such as reduced and/or distorted central vision. Monitoring is recommended though treatment is not necessary at this stage.

If you experience symptoms, this may be an indication that the scar tissue is thickening or shrinking and this results in thickening or wrinkling of the macula. This in turn, causes blurring or distortion of your central vision. For example, reading may become challenging and straight lines may appear wavy.

How is an Epiretinal Membrane Treated?

The only way to treat a Macular Epiretinal Membrane is by having a Vitrectomy surgery. Eye drops or glasses are not effective at improving any vision blurring or distortion caused by the Macular Epiretinal Membrane . During the Vitrectomy, Prof Stanga makes tiny incisions into the white of your eye (the sclera) and removes the vitreous (the clear jelly) from inside. The eye is filled with a clear fluid as the vitreous jelly is removed. Prof Stanga will then gently grasp and slowly peel away the Macular Epiretinal Membrane from the retina.

As the eye recovers from the surgery, vision will slowly improve over the course of several months. Like with most conditions, earlier diagnosis and treatment usually lead to better response to treatment and results.