Epiretinal Membrane

What is an epiretinal membrane? If you think of your eye as a camera, the retina is like the photographic film. It is a very thin layer of tissue, which is sensitive to the image focused on it, sending information to the brain. At the very centre of the retina is the macula. This is a very special area of the retina, which we use for reading and recognising complex shapes. Sometimes, scar tissue forms which grows across the macula. If this scar tissue contracts, it may cause distortion of the retinal tissue. In some cases, this contraction may also affect the vision, particularly when reading and doing other visually demanding tasks.

How will an epiretinal membrane affect my vision?

While the scar tissue is developing, it does not appear to affect your vision. However, when it stops growing, it contracts (shrinks) and causes distortion of your central vision – for example, straight lines appear wavy or crooked in appearance, and reading is difficult. Depending on the severity of this distortion, you might notice a substantial loss of central vision. In some cases, patients only notice symptoms when one eye is covered –for example during an eye test at the optician.

How is an epiretinal membrane treated?

The only way to treat an epiretinal membrane is by having an operation. Eye drops or glasses will not help.