Macular Epiretinal Membrane

The Woodlands Retina Center

Wael Abdelghani, MD, FACS

Retina and Vitreous Specialist located in The Woodlands, TX

Your risk of developing macular epiretinal membrane increases with age. It’s diagnosed in about 2% of people aged 50, yet it’s found in about 20% of adults aged 75. Dr. Wael Abdelghani at The Woodlands Retina Center has extensive experience diagnosing, monitoring, and treating macular epiretinal membrane. Since it doesn’t cause symptoms until it affects your vision, early detection is important. Please schedule your routine eye examination by calling the office in The Woodlands, Texas, or by booking an appointment online.

Macular Epiretinal Membrane Q & A

What is macular epiretinal membrane?

Macular epiretinal membrane (ERM) occurs when a thin membrane forms over your retina. The membrane consists of tissues that can contract and pull on the center of the retina where the macula is located. When this happens, the macula becomes wrinkled. That’s why the condition is commonly called macular pucker.

What causes macular epiretinal membrane?

The cause of ERM often can’t be determined. In other cases, ERM occurs due to:

  • Vascular changes in your retina
  • Inflammatory condition in your eye
  • Trauma or injury
  • Retinal tear or detachment
  • Posterior vitreous detachment
  • Eye tumor

What are the symptoms of macular epiretinal membrane?

You can develop ERM and not have any symptoms until the wrinkling becomes severe enough to affect your vision. When you have symptoms, you may experience:

  • Blurred vision
  • Distorted vision (straight lines appear wavy)
  • Double vision in one eye
  • Objects appear smaller than normal

How is macular epiretinal membrane diagnosed?

Even if you don’t have symptoms, Dr. Abdelghani can identify signs of ERM with a dilated eye examination. During your exam, the doctor also looks for problems associated with ERM, such as macular swelling. To confirm your diagnosis, you may need additional diagnostic procedures, such as optical coherence tomography (OCT).

OCT is a noninvasive imaging test that uses light waves to take cross-section images of your retina. In addition to providing a 3D image that shows subtle wrinkling in your retina, OCT can also evaluate macular swelling and help Dr. Abdelghani plan your treatment.

How is macular epiretinal membrane treated?

When ERM causes vision problems, the primary treatment is surgical removal of the membrane. Surgery typically consists of two steps. First, a vitrectomy is performed to remove the vitreous fluid and gain access to the retinal surface.

After the vitrectomy, Dr. Abdelghani gently removes the epiretinal membrane. When the membrane is gone, the macula usually lays flat against the retina, which improves your vision.

Like many eye conditions, ERM can form and cause progressive problems without causing symptoms. The best way to protect your vision is with regular eye exams to detect developing problems and treat them early.

If you have questions about your vision, please don’t hesitate to call Dr. Abdelghani or book an appointment online for a thorough examination.