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Also known as macular pucker or cellophane retinopathy, epiretinal membrane (ERM) involves growth of a membrane across the retina, which interferes with central vision by distorting the central retina. ERM is usually associated with other disorders such as previous retinal detachment, uveitis, retinal tears, branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO) and central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO). People with a clear ERM should receive an epiretinal membrane peeling procedure named membranectomy.

Some disorders occasionally associated with ERMs include previous retinal detachments and related surgery, inflammatory conditions (uveitis), retinal tears, branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO) and central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO).

You might need a membranectomy if:

  • An epiretinal membrane clearly is present.
  • You experience problems such as vision distortions or substantially reduced vision due to ERM.

    • Your surgeon will help you decide if an epiretinal membrane peeling procedure is appropriate for you. But the decision will depend on the extent of preoperative vision loss and distortions.


The ERM peeling procedure begins with  vitrectomy.

The vitreoretinal surgeon then uses an extremely fine forceps, under high magnification, to grasp and gently peel away the membrane from the retina.

Diamond-dusted instruments may be used that helps to remove the membrane. Precision is key, because this procedure may very well be the most delicate operation that's performed on the human eye.

Usually a few tiny sutures are used to close the incisions in the eye; generally these don't require removal later.

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