Epiretinal Membrane

An epiretinal membrane, also known as a macular pucker or cellophane maculopathy, is a thin sheet of fibrous tissue that develops on the surface of the central retina known as the macula. Normal cells derived from ocular tissues become liberated into the vitreous cavity and settle onto the macular surface. In some cases, these cells proliferate and form a membrane. In severe cases this membrane causes visual changes.
Epiretinal Membrane Image

Symptoms

Symptoms of an epiretinal membrane include blurred, cloudy and/or distorted central vision. These symptoms can range from mild to severe. Peripheral vision is not affected. Diagnosis is determined by performing a detailed retinal examination and retinal imaging studies using fluorescein angiography and optical coherence tomography.

Causes

Normal occurring cells derived from ocular tissues settle and grow on top of the retina. This growth of fibrous tissue can contract and cause the underlying retina to wrinkle. Conditions associated with the development of an epiretinal membrane or macular pucker include vitreous detachment, torn or detached retina, inflammation, vascular damage and trauma from surgery or injury.

Treatments

In mild cases with few or no symptoms, no treatment is necessary. In cases where visual impairment interferes with daily activities, vitrectomy surgery (removal of the vitreous gel inside the eye) with removal of the epiretinal membrane is recommended.