Epiretinal Membrane Surgery

An epiretinal membrane is a very thin layer of fibrous tissue that can form on the surface of your retina (the focusing surface at the back of your eye).

It acts like a film over your macula (the sharp focusing area of the retina) through which it is harder for you to see. In severe cases, the epiretinal membrane may contract like scar tissue, ‘puckering’ the retina and distorting your vision even further.

Not all epiretinal membranes require treatment though, and if your vision is only mildly affected, surgery may not be the right option. For an accurate diagnosis of your condition, you should make an appointment with one of our eye specialists, who will discuss your treatment options with you.

It’s also important to see a specialist sooner rather than later, because in severe cases, an epiretinal membrane may cause permanent damage to your vision.

What’s involved in epiretinal membrane surgery?

The treatment for epiretinal membranes is a surgical procedure called a vitrectomy . It’s a relatively quick procedure that should take no more than an hour. In most cases you’ll be able to go home straight after surgery, and resume non-strenuous activities the day after.

Most patients have better vision after epiretinal membrane surgery, and regaining perfect vision isn’t unusual. It can take three to 12 months for your vision to improve fully though. How much and how soon your vision improves after surgery depends on a number of things, like your age and how far the epiretinal membrane has advanced.

Epiretinal membrane surgery procedure:

  • Before your surgery, you’ll be given a local anaesthetic to numb your eye so you don’t feel any pain.
  • Your surgeon will use the latest ‘no-stitch’ surgical techniques to make tiny incisions in the white of your eye. This type of surgery means your eye will heal faster, and you should feel virtually no irritation after surgery.
  • Using highly specialised instruments, your surgeon will remove the vitreous gel from your eye, and replace it with a special saline solution.
  • Your surgeon will restore your vision by carefully detaching the epiretinal membrane from the surface of your macula, as well as the thin membrane of the retina if it has become ‘puckered’ by the epiretinal membrane.
  • Your eye will usually also be treated with steroids or air, and laser or freezing treatments, which aid healing and speed up recovery.
  • After surgery, you should be able to go home almost straight away, and you can usually resume normal, non-strenuous activities the day after.
  • You’ll need to wear a patch on your eye until the following morning, and you’ll be given eye drops and antibiotics to use for up to four weeks after surgery.

Insight Eye Clinic

155, Geetanjali Building, Sir Bhalachandra Road, Dadar East, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400014