What are Epiretinal Membranes?
Epiretinal membranes (ERMs) are thin layers of fibrous tissue that develop on the retina (the back layer of tissue in the eye). They can be caused by eye injuries, eye surgeries, diabetic retinopathy, retinal tears, separation of the vitreous gel in the eye from the retina or a number of other factors. Because these tissues are transparent, they may not result in outward symptoms or cause serious vision damage. In fact, treatment may not be necessary at all.
When these tissues affect the macula, the small area of nerve cells in the middle of the retina, it can also be called a macular pucker. As we age the gel-like substance in the eye, the vitreous, can contract and pull away from the central part of the macula, causing scar tissue to develop. This scar tissue will interfere with central vision.
Symptoms of a Macular Pucker
- Blurry or distorted central vision
- Straight lines look wavy
- Difficulty reading small print
- Dark spot or blind spot in central vision
Treatments for ERM or Macular Pucker
Your doctor can determine if you need treatment for ERM or a macular pucker. If this condition is not affecting your daily activities, it may not be necessary.
Vitrectomy surgery is the only treatment protocol to restore clear central vision. During surgery, the vitreous gel is removed and replaced with a saline solution to prevent it from pulling on the retina. Scar tissue is also removed.
At Home Treatments
We may recommend that you preform treatments at home to stay proactive with your macular health.
An Amsler grid is one tool that can detect macular degeneration or other eye diseases. The test is simple, but very effective:
- Put on any type of eyeglasses that you normally wear
- Hold the grid 14-16 inches from your eyes
- With one eye covered, look at the center dot in the grid and make sure none of the lines appear distorted, the boxes appear the same size and you can see all parts of the grid
- This test should be done on each eye separately
ForeseeHome™ is another daily home monitoring system to detect wet macular degeneration (AMD). Dry AMD patients simply look into the non-invasive monitor to take a brief test. Data is automatically transmitted to your doctor each day so any changes can be addressed as quickly as possible.
These treatments, along with other at home monitoring, are covered by most insurances.
If you are experiencing any vision problems in Dallas, contact us today to schedule an eye exam.