I have been told I need an epiretinal membrane peel (membranectomy) and vitrectomy. The diagnosis is based on fluoroangiography. I do seem to have symptoms matching the macular pucker. Before I rush into surgery (supposedly the most delicate eye surgery there is), is there any other potential cause for these symptoms?
Epi-retinal membranes are extremely common, often assymptomatic and frequently the cause is idiopathic (that means we just don't know what causes it). Generally the condition is followed with frequent Amsler Grid testing of each eye (at least weekly).
Surgery is genrally not done unless the distortion and reduction of visual acuity is significant. HOWEVER if the ophthalmologist (Eye MD) sees a macular hole developing then surgery may be recommended earlier to prevent the macular hole from getting wider and deeper.
Even if the diagnosis is correct, surgery to peel an epiretinal membrane is by no means mandatory. Actually, no treatment is indicated in the majority of cases of ERM. Reading your post, I get the feeling that you're being pushed in the direction of surgery. I'd strongly suggest that you get a second opinion before proceeding. Doing some research about the condition would probably also be helpful. If you do have an ERM, it wouldn't hurt to take your time before making a decision about what your best course of action would be.
Thanks much for the response. Actually, I knew the ERM was idiopathic. What I am wondering about is the cause of the symptoms, which not only include the blurry vision and seeing as if through cellophane in the left eye, etc, but almost constant devastating headaches when I use my eyes for reading. So I am not being pushed by doctors, but by the symptoms. I just wonder if there could be something else that could cause these same symptoms.
ERM used to be called "cellophane maculopathy", that's what it looks like to the Eye MD and that's what it looks like to the patient. So blurred and distorted vision is the most common symptom.
Headaches are very unusual. Try putting a patch over the bad eye and reading. That should relieve the headaches if the ERM is the cause.
If it does relieve the pain your headache may be due to the effort to maintain fusion and convergence with near tasks. Your options then would be put up with it, patch one eye when reading or try reading glasses with base out prism to lesson the work you eyes do with near tasks.
If the tests indicate reading glasses might work then when you sit down to read or use a computer or do near tasks for a while, you would take off your perscription glasses and put the reading glasses on, You would not do this everytime you read only for prolonged periods that cause your symptoms.
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