Epiretinal Membranes

The retina is a transparent tissue located inside the eye. The retina is similar to the film in the back of a camera. It receives visual images and transmits the information to the brain via the optic nerve.

An epiretinal membrane is a thin, almost transparent, scar which lays tightly adherent to the retinal surface. It occurs commonly in older patients, but can be seen in younger patients, as well. Some doctors have made the analogy that the membrane has the appearance of cellophane. In some cases, the epiretinal membrane may distort the retina causing visual loss or waviness of the vision. If the visual loss is severe, surgical removal of the membrane may be indicated. Following surgery, approximately 90% of patients with epiretinal membranes will notice significant visual improvement.

Most patients who have mild epiretinal membranes do not require surgery. If the vision is good, your doctor will probably recommend simple observation. Unfortunately, new glasses usually will not help improve the vision in patients with epiretinal membranes.