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Epiretinal Membranes

Vitreo-Retinal Surgeons & Specialists located in Austin, Round Rock, Marble Falls, and
Lakeway, TX

Epiretinal Membranes

Epiretinal Membranes

Though you may not be familiar with epiretinal membranes (ERM), it’s a fairly common condition that makes your retina pucker and leads to blurry vision. The highly skilled ophthalmologists at Retina Consultants of Austin, with offices in Austin, Lakeway, Marble Falls, and Round Rock, Texas, often monitor ERMs in their early stages. Once you have symptoms, you need their surgical skills because the only treatment is a vitrectomy. If you have questions about your symptoms, call the nearest office or schedule an appointment online today.

Epiretinal Membranes Q & A

What is epiretinal membrane? 

Epiretinal membrane is known by several names, but the most common is macular pucker. This condition develops when a thin membrane grows over the retina. The membrane tightens and pulls on the center of the retina, where the macula is located. As a result, the macula wrinkles or puckers.

ERM often occurs without an obvious reason. If your provider at Retina Consultants of Austin can identify the cause, the cause is usually one of the following:

  • Changes in blood vessels in your retina
  • Inflammatory conditions (uveitis)
  • Eye trauma or injury
  • Retinal vein occlusion
  • Detached retina
  • Posterior vitreous detachment (PVD)
  • Previous eye surgery
  • Eye tumor

Retinal conditions associated with ERM also include diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration. 

What are the symptoms of epiretinal membrane? 

Most people with epiretinal membrane won’t have symptoms until the puckering gets severe enough to affect their vision.

When symptoms appear, you may have:

  • Blurry vision
  • Distorted vision (straight line appears wavy)
  • Double vision in one eye
  • Flashes of light

You may also find that objects look smaller than they really are. 

How is epiretinal membrane treated?

If you don’t have symptoms, you may not need immediate treatment. However, your provider at Retina Consultants of Austin closely monitors your eye and vision, using specialized imaging to detect the slightest changes indicating the pucker is getting worse.

Currently, there aren’t any medical treatments for ERM. As the condition progresses and causes symptoms, your provider treats the condition with a surgical procedure called vitrectomy.

During a vitrectomy, they make tiny incisions in the white part of your eye, remove the vitreous gel inside the eye, and replace it with a saline (salt) solution. The saline solution maintains the shape of your eye while your provider removes the membrane.

With the membrane gone, the retina can relax and the puckers disappear. If you have vision changes or loss before your surgery, it can take time for optimal vision to return. Most patients see an improvement in about three months, but it could take a year to regain full visual sharpness*. 

To learn more about your risk of developing ERM, call Retina Consultants of Austin or schedule an appointment online today.

*Individual results may vary