Epi-retinal Membrane (Macular Pucker)

OVERVIEW

Epi-retinal membrane (ERM) or macular pucker is a cellophane-like membrane that formsEpi-retinal membrane - macular pucker over the macula.  It is typically a slow-progressing problem that affects the central vision by causing blur and distortion.  As it progresses, the traction of the membrane on the macula may cause swelling.  

ERM is seen most often in people over 75 years of age.  It usually occurs for unknown reasons, but may be associated with certain eye problems such as: diabetic retinopathy, posterior vitreous detachment, retinal detachment, trauma, and many others.  

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision that is noticeable even with one eye covered
  • Distorted vision (straight lines may appear bent or wavy)

DETECTION AND DIAGNOSIS

The doctor is able to detect ERM with ophthalmoscopy during an examination of the retina.  It has a glistening, cellophane-like appearance.  The affect of ERM on the patient's central vision is assessed with a visual acuity test and the Amsler Grid.  If the doctor suspects macular swelling, he may order fluorescein angiography.  

TREATMENT

A procedure called a membrane peel is performed when vision has deteriorated to the point that it is impairing the patient's lifestyle.  Most vitreo-retinal surgeons recommend waiting for treatment until vision has decreased to the point that the risk of the procedure justifies the improvement.  

The membrane peel is performed under a local anesthesia in an operating room.  After making tiny incisions The membrane peel is often done in conjunction with a procedure called a vitrectomy.  

St. Luke's Cataract & Laser Institute provides this on-line information for educational and communication purposes only and it should not be construed as personal medical advice.  Information published on this St. Luke's website is not intended to replace, supplant, or augment a consultation with an eye care professional regarding the viewer/user's own medical care.  St. Luke's disclaims any and all liability for injury or other damages that could result from use of the information obtained from this site.

back to top