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Epiretinal Membrane

What Is Epiretinal Membrane?

An epiretinal membrane is a fine layer of scar tissue on the surface of the retina that causes an uneven focusing surface and thus distortion and blur of your central vision.


What Causes It?

A thin layer of scar tissue develops on the surface of the retina in association with many different ocular conditions, most commonly in an otherwise normal eye. Over time the scar tissue will increasingly contract and distort the retina.


How Do We Assess It?

Your Envision Optical optometrist will need to take digital retinal photographs to record the appearance of the retina and epiretinal membrane, and also perform regular OCT Cirrus scans to measure the membrane and check for any thickening or formation of macular holes.


Potential Complications

The major problem is blurred vision. However, if it progresses an epiretinal membrane can cause significant contraction and cause a hole to form at the macula (the central area of the retina which lets us see fine detail).



Your optometrist can monitor the condition using retinal photography and OCT scans. If there is significant change and progressive blurring, then referral to a retinal specialist will be recommended. The membrane is treated surgically by a vitrectomy and membrane peel. This removes the jelly inside the eye and relieves the traction on the retina. The surgery takes approx one hour and often face down posturing will be required for a few days after surgery. It is also common to develop a cataract after this surgery.


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