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Epiretinal Membrane | ERM | Cellophane Maculopathy

An epiretinal membrane (ERM), also known as a macular pucker or cellophane
maculopathy, is a condition characterized by the formation of a thin, transparent layer of
fibrous tissue on the surface of the retina at the macula (the central part of the retina
responsible for sharp, detailed vision). This membrane can distort and wrinkle the
macula, affecting central vision.

The exact cause of epiretinal membranes isn’t always clear, but they often develop due
to changes or disruptions in the vitreous gel inside the eye. As the vitreous shrinks or
separates from the retina with normal aging, it can cause cells or tissue to be pulled off
the retina’s surface, leading to the formation of a membrane. Other factors contributing

to ERM formation may include eye trauma, inflammation, diabetes, or previous eye

Many people with epiretinal membranes may not notice any significant changes in their
vision. However, in some cases, an ERM can cause symptoms such as:

● Blurred or distorted central vision
● Difficulty reading or seeing fine details
● Straight lines appearing wavy or bent
● Mild or moderate vision loss in the affected eye

Diagnosing an epiretinal membrane typically involves a comprehensive eye examination,
including a dilated eye exam, optical coherence tomography (OCT) to visualize the
retina’s layers and detect any membrane presence or changes, and other imaging tests
to assess the severity and impact on vision.

Treatment for an epiretinal membrane may not be necessary if it doesn’t significantly
affect vision or daily activities. However, if vision impairment becomes bothersome or
affects quality of life, surgical intervention may be considered. The primary treatment
for an epiretinal membrane is a surgical procedure called vitrectomy combined with
membrane peeling.

During vitrectomy surgery, the vitreous gel is removed, and the fibrous tissue (epiretinal
membrane) is delicately peeled off the retinal surface using microsurgical instruments.
After removing the membrane, the surgeon replaces the vitreous gel with a saline
solution or gas bubble to help the eye heal and maintain its shape.

Recovery from epiretinal membrane surgery varies from person to person. Some
individuals may experience improved vision relatively quickly, while others may take
more time to notice visual improvement. Regular follow-up appointments with your eye
doctor are essential to monitor the healing process and vision recovery after surgery.