Epiretinal membrane – causes, side effects and treatments at NaturalPedia.com

Saturday, April 07, 2018 by

An epiretinal membrane is a thin and transparent layer of fibrous tissue that forms a film on the retina’s inner surface.

Epiretinal membranes (ERMs) usually occur among individuals older than 50. About two percent of people older than 50 and 20 percent older than 75 have ERMs, but a majority of them don’t require treatment, per The American Society of Retina Specialists (ASRS).

While about 20 percent of people with ERMS have them in both eyes, the symptoms and severity for each eye may differ.

Known symptoms and risk factors of an epiretinal membrane

Epiretinal membranes are considered severe when they affect the central part of the retina, which is responsible for seeing fine details like when we’re reading.

For the most severe cases of ERM, vision can become blurred and distorted. The person’s vision will be similar to a distorted view seen through an unadjusted pair of binoculars.

When a patient develops an ERM, straight lines like those from a doorway could appear wavy. Take note that ERM vision loss may start out as unnoticeable and become increasingly severe.

Symptoms of an ERM may include:

  • Decreased vision or loss of central vision (central vision lets our eyes see ahead to read or notice fine details)
  • Distorted or blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Problems reading small print
  • Wavy vision

An individual’s risk of developing an ERM gets higher as they age. Patients with an existing eye or vision condition may develop an ERM before they tun 50.

Risk factors for an ERM may include:

  • Existing ERM – An existing ERM in one eye indicates a higher likelihood of also getting one in the other eye.
  • Injuries – Eye injuries or traumas may result in ERMs.
  • Posterior vitreous detachment – Occurs when the gel that fills the back of the eye to the retina separates.
  • Retinal tear or detachment – A retinal tear is a break in the retina. Meanwhile, retinal detachment occurs when the retina pulls away from the back of the eye.
  • Retinal vascular diseases – Includes health problems that affect the blood vessels in the eyes, like diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy may affect people with diabetes.
  • Surgery – Eye surgeries (e.g. cataract surgery) may cause ERMs.

Body systems harmed by an epiretinal membrane

An epiretinal membrane may cause the following complications:

  • Decreased and/or distorted vision. May cause severe vision problems and emotional stress.
  • Early cataract.
  • Macular hole. May occur if continued vitreomacular traction ensues following the formation of ERMs.
  • Macular pseudohole. A a hole that forms in the ERM over the macula instead of in the macula itself.
  • Surgical complications. May includes bleeding, infection, recurrence of ERM, and retinal detachment.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent an epiretinal membrane

The following foods or nutrients can help prevent an epiretinal membrane:

  • Almonds – Rich in vitamin E, almonds can help slow down macular degeneration.
  • Carrots – Carrots and orange fruits and vegetables are good for your eye health because they contain beta-carotene, a type of vitamin A. Beta-carotene gives these fruits and vegetables their orange hue and it helps the retina and other parts of the eye function properly.
  • Citrus and berries – These fruits are full of vitamin C, which can help lower the risk of developing macular degeneration and cataracts.
  • Eggs – An egg yolk is a great source of lutein and zeaxanthin. Yolks also contain zinc, which can help lower your risk for macular degeneration risk.
  • Fatty fish – Fish like anchovies, mackerel, salmon, and tuna contain DHA, a fatty acid found in the retina.
  • Leafy greens – Leafy greens are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that can help, lower the risk of developing macular degeneration and cataracts.

Treatments, management plans for an epiretinal membrane

Aside from surgery, there are no other effective treatments for epiretinal membranes. At least 15 percent of ERMs require surgery.

While surgical intervention is often successful, vision improvement for 25 to 50 percent is at about 20/40.

The 20/40 measurement defines clarity, sharpness, and visual accuracy. A 20/40-vision measurement means an individual can see at least 20 feet (ft), compared to a person with normal vision who can see up to 40 ft.

Where to learn more

Summary

An epiretinal membrane is a thin, transparent layer of fibrous tissue that forms a film on the retina’s inner surface.

ERM may be characterized by decreased vision or loss of central vision, distorted or blurred vision, double vision, problems reading small print, and wavy vision.

ERM may cause complications like decreased and/or distorted vision, early cataract, macular hole, macular pseudohole, and surgical complications.

At least 15 percent of ERMs require surgery. While surgical intervention is often successful, vision improvement for 25 to 50 percent is at about 20/40.

Sources include

DoveMed.com

Health.com

MedicalNewsToday.com



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