Epi Retinal Membrane
Epi Retinal membranes may be caused by many different eye problems.
They may follow eye surgery, retinal blood vessel problems or develop for no known reason at all. In most cases though epi retinal membranes are a result of posterior vitreous detachment. In many cases vision is minimally affected and no treatment is needed. If however, swelling, traction or greatly decreased vision occurs you may require either drug therapy with eye drops or surgical intervention. Eye drops would be used if you are only experiencing mild vision decrease and there is evidence of swelling the in the macular area. If there is significant traction and visual decrease surgical intervention will be recommended. The membrane is pulled up at the edge with a surgical instrument called a retinal pick, then gently pulled and cut free with forceps and scissors. This surgery is usually performed under local anesthetic and takes about 1 hour. Following surgery vision slowly improves and should reach it’s best by 3 to 4 months. In 75% of cases vision will improve following surgery but in some cases vision may not improve at all. The average patient will regain about half of the vision that was lost due to the membrane. In most cases there is a definite decrease in visual distortion. Complications following surgery include cataract (if you have not had cataract surgery), decreased vision and total loss of vision. These last two complications are very rare.