Epiretinal membranes do not always require treatment. In many cases, epiretinal membranes are mild and may not affect vision. Such cases can be safely observed. However, in some cases, if the epiretinal membrane is severe and causes significant symptoms, then surgery may be required.
Surgery for epiretinal membranes involves a vitrectomy, a form of "keyhole" surgery that uses small instruments to enter the eye to remove the vitreous gel. This allows access to the epiretinal membrane, which can then be peeled off the retinal surface with small instruments. Occasionally, a gas bubble may be injected into the eye at the end of surgery, to replace the vitreous gel.
Epiretinal membranes can be removed surgically in the large majority of cases. Surgery helps to stabilise and prevent deterioration of vision, and in most cases also improves symptoms of blurred vision and distortion. The success of improving the vision varies from person to person and ranges from 80% to 90%. Some amount of distortion may persist, depending on how long the symptoms and epiretinal membrane have been there for, prior to surgery.
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