The human eye is a remarkable organ responsible for our sense of sight. The retina is a super complex delicate “wallpaper” lining the back of the eye, which acts like photographic film in a camera, picking up all the light and detail that enters the eye. It then sends the visual messages to the brain, and we “see”. The central part of the retina is called the macula, which is the part of the eye responsible for central vision, colour and fine detail such as reading and recognising people´s faces.
Certain eye conditions, such as epiretinal membrane (ERM), can affect the macula and compromise central vision, giving a central blur or vision distortion where images look bent out of shape. It is a fine scar which grows across the macula, which can be treated by eye surgery if it thickens and contracts.
Epiretinal membrane eye surgery is by the specialist vitreo-retinal surgeon and is called vitrectomy with microscopic epiretinal membrane peel. At Clinica London we have two vitreo-retinal surgeons, Ms Evgenia Anikina and Mr Julian Robins who are both highly skilled ophthalmic surgeons experience in vitrectomies. The vitreous is the jelly that filles the eye and sits in front of the retina. Epiretinal membrane peel is done under the microscope with ever so delicate microscopic eye instruments placed inside the eye to lift and remove the epiretinal membrane affecting your central vision.
In this blog, we will explore the process of ERM surgery, its benefits, and what patients can expect from this vision-restoring intervention.
Epiretinal membrane, commonly referred to as macular pucker, occurs when a thin layer of scar tissue forms on the surface of the retina and causes the retina to wrinkle, leading to distorted or blurred vision. The most common symptoms of ERM include decreased visual clarity, distorted central vision, and in some cases, straight lines appearing wavy. It is a common condition seen with ageing and is found in 10% of people. It often remains stable and does not require surgery. A proportion benefit from epiretinal membrane surgery where it can help restore vision.
Epiretinal membrane surgery offers significant benefits, with improved vision, enhanced contrast sensitivity, and a reduction in distortion. The surgery aims to restore visual acuity and quality of life for individuals affected by symptomatic ERM.
Epiretinal membrane surgery is delicate eye surgery performed by an ophthalmologist specialising in vitreous and retinal diseases. The surgery typically involves the following steps:
Following the surgery, patients will require some postoperative care to facilitate healing and optimise visual outcomes. This will include the use of eye drops, specific positioning instructions, and temporary restrictions on activities such as heavy lifting or straining. The ophthalmologist will provide detailed instructions tailored to the patient’s specific needs.
Recovery time varies among individuals, but patients often experience some improvement in visual clarity within the first few weeks after surgery. Full recovery may take several months. During the recovery period, regular follow-up visits will be scheduled to monitor the progress and address any concerns.
As with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks involved, although they are relatively rare. These risks may include infection, bleeding, retinal detachment, increased intraocular pressure, and cataract formation. However, the overall success rate of ERM surgery is high, and the benefits typically outweigh the risks for most patients.
Epiretinal membrane surgery is a sophisticated procedure that holds the potential to restore vision in individuals affected by this condition. By removing the scar tissue from the surface of the retina, this surgery can help improve visual acuity and reduce distortion. While risks are present, the benefits of improved vision and enhanced quality of life make ERM surgery a viable option for many patients.
If you suspect you may have an epiretinal membrane, consult a vitreo-retinal ophthalmic surgeon who can guide you through the diagnosis and potential treatment options, including surgery, to restore your visual function and overall well-being.
Epiretinal membrane surgery, also known as macular pucker surgery or vitrectomy with membrane peel, is a surgical procedure performed to treat an epiretinal membrane (ERM) that forms on the surface of the retina. Here are some interesting facts about epiretinal membrane surgery:
It’s important to consult with a surgical retinal specialist for a comprehensive evaluation and personalised information about epiretinal membrane surgery.