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Epiretinal Membranes

Allison Menezes, M.D.
Fellowship-trained Retina Specialist

Anita Shane, M.D.
Fellowship-trained Retina Specialist


The inner wall of the back of the eye is lined by a layer of tissue called the retina. The center of vision is served by the center of the retina, which is the macula. The macula is used to look at someone dead in the eye, for reading and very fine detailed work. The center of the eyeball is filled with an egg-white like substance called vitreous. The vitreous undergoes changes with age that allows a sheet of cells to grow on top of your retina. The sheet of cells is called an epiretinal membrane (ERM). This can cause a decrease of vision.


As light enters through the front of the eye, it penetrates the cornea and the lens and these structures focus the light on to the macula. In order for the macula to see the focused image, the light must penetrate this sheet of cells (ERM) that is on the surface of the macula. The ERM acts as a filter to the light and may decrease vision on this basis.


The other way that blurred vision can result is by the pulling of this sheet of cells upon the surface of the retina, causing it to distort or become "wrinkled." An ERM has the appearance of wrinkled cellophane paper and consequently this condition is sometimes called cellophane/wrinkling retinopathy. The distortion in the retina can cause blurred vision, but it can also cause distortion in images that your eye perceives. Sometimes there can be swelling that occurs in the retina from this distortion. When this membrane significantly affects vision, the surgeon may recommend "a membrane peeling." The surgery that is performed is called a vitrectomy. The vitrectomy removes part of the vitreous that is inside the middle of the eye. It is then followed by a delicate peeling away of the membrane that is living on the surface of the macula. It is performed under the microscope using a variety of specialized microscopic instruments. This usually results in improved visual acuity and may also resolve much of the distortion that people may experience as a result of this condition.



Why Choose CEI?

Coastal Eye Institute (formerly Manatee Sarasota Eye Clinic) is one of the area’s largest ophthalmology practices featuring a comprehensive team of fellowship-trained ophthalmologists in every subspecialty of eye care.From infancy to the golden years...we provide care for the total health of your eyes. Trust your eye care to our specialists!


Coastal Eye Institute has fellowship-trained ophthalmologists in every specialty of eye care:

  • ➢ Laser Cataract Surgery
  • ➢ Glaucoma
  • ➢ Macular Degeneration
  • ➢ Diabetic Retinopathy
  • ➢ Dry Eye Disease
  • ➢ LASIK Laser Vision Correction
  • ➢ Neuro-Ophthalmology
  • ➢ Pediatric Eye Care
  • ➢ Routine Eye Care
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