Epiretinal Membrane

  • Posted on: Feb 12 2019
  • By:


By Luis Washington Lu, M.D.

An epiretinal membrane (ERM) is a semitranslucent sheath of glial cells covering the inner service of the retinal. This ERM can be:

  • Idiopathic: secondary to Posterior Vitreous Separation (Aging) in a sensitive eye
  • Secondary to a variety of conditions including eye vascular occlusions, inflammation, trauma, intraocular surgery, and retinal breaks.

ERM’s are relatively common. I call it “the 10% disease”. Ten percent (10%) of seniors have it, it is bilateral in 10% of them, and 10% of them can proliferate in the way that may require surgery. Ten percent of those who have surgery done may require a second procedure done.

This sheath of cells has the tendency to induce contracture of the membrane inducing distortion and wrinkling of the inner surface of the retina for which the ERM is also called cellophane maculopathy or preretinal macular fibrosis, as it also has the tendency to grow over the macula which is the central part of the vision. Surface-wrinkling retinopathy and macular pucker are also terms used for the ERM depending of the severity of the case.

Further traction can cause shallow detachments, macular cysts, fluid accumulation, and macular holes.

OCT scan of normal macula vs ERM

Although rarely the ERM can be resolved, most patients may remain stable with functioning vision. But in certain cases, the vision decreases under 20/50 or 20/60, or the distortion is intolerable by the patient, then surgical removal of the membrane will have to be performed. The procedure is called Membrane Peeling through a Pars Plana Vitrectomy with Fluid-Gas exchange and it is performed by well-trained retinal surgeons.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in: Educational

Request An Appointment

Quick Contact

  • * All indicated fields must be completed.
    Please include non-medical questions and correspondence only.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

New Patient Forms


Locate Our Office

2490 West Ray Road
Chandler, AZ 85224

2490 West Ray Road Chandler, AZ 85224 480.857.3333