What is an epiretinal membrane on the eye?

Dr. Abdhish R. Bhavsar, MD
Ophthalmologist (Eye Specialist)

Epiretinal membranes typically progress over years to months and can cause decreased vision and particularly distortion.They grow on the retina surface typically as people age yet they can occur in younger individuals on occasion and can occur after surgeries or other trauma. If an epiretinal membrane is very dense and severe, it can cause severe loss of central vision, but typically not total blindness. When epiretinal membranes cause decreased vision, pars plana vitrectomy and membrane dissection surgery is indicated to remove the epiretinal membrane. This typically leads to improvement in vision. Although, when the epiretinal membrane has caused substantial vision loss, then the vision gain after surgery is not as great. Thus it is typically better to do surgery earlier when the patient is symptomatic even with relatively less severe vision loss.

Dr. George A. Williams, MD
Ophthalmologist (Eye Specialist)

Epiretinal membrane is relatively common and can be caused by a variety of conditions. However, the majority of epiretinal membranes are idiopathic, meaning that there is no apparent cause. The retinal wrinkling associated with epiretinal membrane is due to contraction of the membrane on the surface of the retina. This contraction is a natural phenomenon which occurs in all forms of scar tissue.

Continue Learning about Eye and Vision

Can Macular Degeneration Be Reversed?
Can Macular Degeneration Be Reversed?
In this video, David David Demartini, MD, of Northern California Cornea Associates, describes a future breakthrough treatment that could win the nobel...
Read More
Is a freckle in the back of my eye serious?
Lee R. Duffner, MDLee R. Duffner, MD
A freckle in the back of the eye refers to a choroidal nevus, a common, benign, flat, pigmented grow...
More Answers
7 Foods for Healthy Eyes
7 Foods for Healthy Eyes7 Foods for Healthy Eyes7 Foods for Healthy Eyes7 Foods for Healthy Eyes
For brighter eyes and clearer vision, these foods can help.
Start Slideshow
What Advantages Do New Surgeons Have in Terms of Training?
What Advantages Do New Surgeons Have in Terms of Training?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.