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Epiretinal Membrane

(Macular Pucker; Cellophane Maculopathy; Premacular Fibrosis)


Sonia Mehta

, MD, Vitreoretinal Diseases and Surgery Service, Wills Eye Hospital, Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University

Last full review/revision Jun 2020| Content last modified Jun 2020

Epiretinal membrane is formation of a thin membrane over the retina, which interferes with vision.

Epiretinal membrane is a thin membrane or layer of scar tissue that forms over the retina (the transparent, light-sensitive structure at the back of the eye) and then contracts, wrinkling the retina underneath. An epiretinal membrane typically occurs after age 50 and is most common among people older than 75.

Various conditions that can cause or contribute to wrinkling of the retina include the following:

Most of the time, however, no clear cause of epiretinal membrane can be identified.

Symptoms of Epiretinal Membrane

Symptoms of epiretinal membrane may include blurred vision or distorted vision (for example, straight lines may appear wavy). Many people say that it seems like they are looking through plastic wrap or cellophane.

Diagnosis of Epiretinal Membrane

  • A doctor's examination of the eye
  • Possibly color photography, fluorescein angiography, and/or optical coherence tomography

Doctors confirm the diagnosis of epiretinal membrane by looking at the back of the eye with an ophthalmoscope. Color photography, fluorescein angiography, and/or optical coherence tomography (an imaging study) may also be helpful.

Treatment of Epiretinal Membrane

  • Sometimes vitrectomy with membrane peel

Most people need no treatment. If the blurred or distorted vision is bothersome, the vitreous and membrane can be removed surgically, using a procedure called a vitrectomy with membrane peel. This procedure can be done under local anesthesia in an operating room and usually takes about 30 minutes.

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