Microincision Vitrectomy Surgery
What is Epiretinal Membrane?
Epiretinal membrane is a small portion of scar tissue that grows on the surface of the macula. It is common, but does not cause symptoms in most people.
What are symptoms of Epiretinal Membrane?
Most patients don't have any symptoms. Membranes may cause distortion, difficulty reading and visual blur. In this situation, following a detailed discussion of the risks and benefits of surgery, you may decide to go ahead with an operation.
What are the causes of Epiretinal membrane?
Whilst the majority of epiretinal membranes have no other disease associated, some can be associated with retinal vascular disease such as diabetes, retinal tears, or other inflammatory eye diseases. Membranes become more common as we get older, with upto 20% of patients over 60 having epiretinal membranes. The vast majority do not need surgical treatment.
What is the management of Epiretinal membrane?
Surgical management of membranes is very effective, and most patients will find an improvement in symptoms within a few months after surgery. Surgery is day surgery, usually under a local anaesthetic. Latest microincision vitrectomy techniques are safer and less invasive with a short recovery, usually not requiring a gas bubble or positioning after surgery.
Surgery involves carefully peeling away the membrane from the surface of the retina. The surgery is performed using three tiny "keyhole" incisions in the eye. After removal of the vitreous gel, the epiretinal membrane is peeled off the retina using microforceps. Finally, the peripheral retina is searched for any retinal tears and these are treated.
The surgery can be done under local anaesthetic (where the patient is awake) or general anaesthetic (where the patient is asleep). The surgery usually takes approximately one hour to perform.