An epiretinal membrane usually requires no treatment. In many cases, the symptoms of blur vision and vision distortion are mild, and no treatment is necessary. Patients usually adjust to the mild visual distortion, since it does not affect activities of daily life, such as reading and driving. Neither eye drops, medications, nor nutritional supplements will improve vision distorted from macular pucker. Sometimes the scar tissue separates from the retina, and the epiretinal membrane clears up.
Rarely, vision deteriorates to the point where it affects daily routine activities. However, when this happens, surgery may be recommended. The procedure (vitrectomy), in which the vitreous gel is removed to prevent it from pulling on the retina and replaced with a salt solution. Also, the scar tissue which causes the wrinkling is removed. A vitrectomy is usually performed under local anaesthesia. After the operation, patient will need to wear an eye patch for a few weeks to protect the eye. Medicated eye drops are given to protect against infection.
What are the risks of surgery?
Surgery to repair an epiretinal membrane is very delicate, and while vision improves in most cases, it does not usually return to normal. On average, about half of the vision lost from an epiretinal membrane is restored; some people have significantly more vision restored, some less. In most cases, vision distortion is significantly reduced. Recovery of vision can take up to three months. The most common complication of a vitrectomy is an increase in the rate of cataract development. Other complications are retinal detachment either during or after surgery, and infection after surgery. Also, the epiretinal membrane may grow back, but this is rare.