What is Epiretinal Membrane?

Epiretinal membrane (also known as macular pucker or cellophane membrane) is a thin layer of fibrous tissue that can develop on the surface of the macular area of the retina and cause a disturbance in vision. Epiretinal membrane is a condition that is most commonly a result of the physical changes that come with aging.

Epiretinal membrane causes a distortion and/or blurring of central, focused vision. Peripheral vision is usually not affected at all. Although there may be other symptoms, such as floaters, it is the distortion and blurring which is most bothersome to patients.

This distortion of vision is the result of a fine layer of scar tissue cells, which have formed on the surface of the retina and cause it to wrinkle. Usually the vision is not severely affected and it may only in one eye.

Patients with a fairly severe epiretinal membrane may choose surgery, which is the only known treatment option for this problem. The surgery is called a vitrectomy and consists of removing the vitreous gel and scar tissue, which cause the wrinkling. Most patients will have a significant improvement in vision after surgery, however this may occur progressively over several months.