Epiretinal Membrane

What is an Epiretinal Membrane (ERM)? Epiretinal membrane is a thin, translucent layer of fibrous tissue that forms on the surface of the macula, the central area of the retina. This membrane can distort or wrinkle the macula, leading to blurred or distorted vision. ERM typically develops as a result of the proliferation of cells on the surface of the retina, often occurring with aging or in association with other eye conditions.


Causes of Epiretinal Membrane: The exact cause of epiretinal membrane formation is not always clear, but several factors may contribute to its development, including:

  • Age-related changes in the vitreous gel, such as posterior vitreous detachment (PVD)
  • Trauma or injury to the eye
  • Eye surgeries or procedures, such as cataract surgery or retinal detachment repair
  • Inflammation or swelling in the eye (uveitis)
  • Retinal vascular diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy or retinal vein occlusion

Symptoms of Epiretinal Membrane: Epiretinal membrane may cause a range of symptoms, which can vary in severity from mild to severe. Common symptoms of ERM include:

  • Blurred or distorted central vision
  • Difficulty reading or performing tasks that require fine detail
  • Metamorphopsia, or the perception of straight lines appearing wavy or crooked
  • Decreased color perception
  • Mild to moderate vision loss in the affected eye

Diagnosis and Treatment: Diagnosing epiretinal membrane typically involves a comprehensive eye examination, including visual acuity testing, dilated fundus examination, and imaging studies such as optical coherence tomography (OCT). OCT is particularly useful for visualizing the thickness and characteristics of the epiretinal membrane and assessing its impact on the macula.

Treatment options for epiretinal membrane may include:

  • Observation: In mild cases where ERM is not causing significant visual symptoms, observation may be recommended, with regular monitoring to assess changes in vision.
  • Vitrectomy Surgery: For more advanced cases of ERM that cause significant visual impairment or distortion, vitrectomy surgery may be necessary. During vitrectomy, the surgeon removes the vitreous gel and carefully peels away the epiretinal membrane from the surface of the macula, restoring central vision.

At Retina Consultants of Delmarva, our experienced retina specialists are dedicated to providing personalized care and innovative treatments for patients with epiretinal membrane. If you have been diagnosed with ERM or are experiencing symptoms of vision distortion or loss, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with our team to discuss your treatment options. Together, we can work towards preserving your vision and enhancing your quality of life.