Dependent on Treatment
Epiretinal membrane mainly affects people over the age of 50 and occurs when a thin layer of tissue forms over the retina, at the back of the eye. This can happen when the jelly in the eye (vitreous) comes away from the retina, or following surgery or inflammation of the eye. This condition can cause visual difficulties when the membrane stops growing and starts to contract, distorting a person’s central vision. A procedure known as vitrectomy is often the best solution for correcting this condition as contact lenses or glasses will have no effect.
Dependent on Treatment
During a vitrectomy the surgeon will make small incisions in the eye so that the vitreous can be removed. This will allow the surgeon to access the membrane at the back of the eye, so it can be gently pulled away. Small dissolvable stitches are used to close the incisions which take around 6 weeks to break down. This procedure is often considered when everyday activities such as reading, driving and working become affected. In many cases, epiretinal membrane develops in one eye only, and those affected decide to continue without surgery.
Our ophthalmology treatments are carried out under general anaesthetic. Here at REAL we use total intravenous anaesthesia as it has greater potential benefits compared to other forms of anaesthesia. Intravenous anaesthesia is more rapid in onset, and elimination which allows for speedier recovery. Further benefits include; increased haemodynamic stability (stabilised blood flow), decreased risk of organ toxicity, decrease in surgical haemostasis (bleeding), reduced risk of postoperative nausea and vomiting, and improved, more predictable recovery.
The contracting tissue at the back of the eye can cause the macula to stop working properly, which leads to significant difficulties with visual activities. However, this condition does not usually cause total blindness.
You will be given eye drops to take at home to prevent infection, and you will not be able to drive until your vision has fully returned to normal. The eyes will be very sensitive and will be susceptible to complications such as: infection, bleeding, retinal detachment, formation of scar tissue and blindness. Therefore you are advised against heavy lifting, strenuous exercise and flying.
If you’re not sure what treatment you need, or you would just like a chat to get some advice, give our team a call or drop us a message and we’ll be happy to help.