An epiretinal membrane is a layer of scar tissue that forms on your retina. There are several reasons this can happen. One example is diabetic retinopathy, which can lead to blood vessels in the retina to rupture. This, in turn, can lead to the formation of scar tissue. Often this scar tissue will be concentrated in the center of the retina and can obstruct your vision such as distortion and opaque spots. If you have this issue, your ophthalmologist or retina specialist may want to operate. There are a few things that you should know about this surgery.
1. It is usually an elective surgery
The word elective is often used because it is not necessary for your health. You will simply suffer from low vision. This will typically be only one of your eyes because this problem usually doesn't develop in both eyes. An epiretinal membrane peel is usually covered, at least in part, by most insurance plans.
2. There are risks to the surgery
The main risk is an infection of the eye, but overall, it is a surgery that produces few side effects. Your eye surgeon can give you more details, especially about the post-operation care of your eye to reduce the risk of an infection.
3. It is an outpatient surgery
This surgery takes place in a hospital, but you will be released the same day. An anesthesiologist will put you to sleep. After the operation, you will be placed in a recovery room until you are completely awake. You will, however, need someone to drive you home.
4. Most people report improvement
The vast majority of patients having this surgery do notice an improvement in their vision. It may be a few weeks or perhaps a few months, but there is better vision in the eye. You will need to speak to your eye surgeon for current statistics on vision improvement.
5. You may develop an early cataract
One thing to be aware of is that this surgery has a tendency to hasten the development of a cataract in the eye. A cataract is the cloudiness that forms on the eye's lens. Cataract surgery is the replacement of the lens with an artificial lens. Most people when they reach their senior years need this type of surgery. But if you have had an epiretinal membrane peel, you may need it sooner. Cataract surgery is performed at an ophthalmologist's office, so you won't need to go to a hospital.
If you have been told you need epiretinal membrane peel surgery, you shouldn't be alarmed. It is a common eye surgery that has helped improve many people's vision. Your eye surgeon can provide you with more details.