If you’re noticing a decline in your ability to read fine print or are struggling to see the details of nearby faces, a macular epiretinal membrane may be to blame. In the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois, ophthalmologist Neel Lamba, MD, diagnoses macular epiretinal membranes, monitors them, and can treat severe cases with surgery. To find out if a macular epiretinal membrane is the cause of your vision decline, call Neel Lamba, MD.
A macular epiretinal membrane, also called a macular pucker, is a thin layer of tissue that can grow on the inner surface of the central portion of your retina. This area, called the macula, helps you focus your eyes to see sharp details.
The tissue of a macular epiretinal membrane is fibrous and can contract, causing a pull on your retina. This puckering causes vision distortion.
Macular epiretinal membranes usually affect healthy older patients and people with other conditions affecting their eyes, like retinal tears and retinal vascular diseases.
Dr. Lamba can diagnose the condition during a routine eye exam, but he might not recommend any treatment. He simply monitors macular epiretinal membranes until they cause serious symptoms.
Your macular epiretinal membrane may or may not cause any symptoms. Even if you do have symptoms, they’re typically very mild. You might notice a slight decline in the clarity of your central vision, but your peripheral vision is almost never affected.
As the condition worsens, you should report changes in your vision to Dr. Lamba during your routine eye exams. Some possible signs and symptoms of macular epiretinal membrane are:
To confirm your diagnosis or assess your central vision, Dr. Lamba might use the Amsler grid test. During the test, you use one eye at a time to focus on a dot in the center of a grid pattern. If you have a macular epiretinal membrane or another condition affecting the macula, like macular degeneration, the grid lines may look wavy, or some appear to be missing.
Dr. Lamba uses the newest available treatments for all eye conditions at his practice. For a macular epiretinal membrane, the only treatment is vitrectomy surgery.
While you won’t require treatment for a macular epiretinal membrane unless it’s very serious, vitrectomy surgery is highly effective for the condition.
During the surgery, Dr. Lamba makes small incisions in your eyeball and removes some of the fluid from within. He peels the epiretinal membrane away from the macula and retina before putting the fluid back in your eye.
After your surgery, you need to carefully protect your eye as you recover. Dr. Lamba places a protective pad and shield over the eye and gives you medicated drops to use throughout the recovery. He gives you specific instructions for how long to use the drops and how long to limit your activities until the eye is stable.
Macular epiretinal membranes rarely require treatment. However, if the vision distortions affect you significantly, call Neel Lamba, MD today.