Epiretinal Membrane Specialist

Austin Eye Center

Retina Specialist located in Austin, TX

Also known as a macular pucker, an epiretinal membrane can make things appear wavy and create problems with your central vision. Ophthalmologist and fellowship-trained retinal surgeon Fuad Makkouk, MD, uses the newest surgical techniques to treat epiretinal membranes at Austin Eye Center. If you think you may have an epiretinal membrane, call or book an appointment online today.

Epiretinal Membrane

What is an epiretinal membrane?

An epiretinal membrane is a thin, transparent layer of scar tissue that forms on the inner surface of your retina. Epiretinal membranes affect the macula, which is the area of your retina that provides the sharpest vision. 

When an epiretinal membrane grows over the macula, it may contract and wrinkle. For this reason, epiretinal membranes are sometimes called macular puckers.

What are the symptoms of an epiretinal membrane?

Epiretinal membranes affect your ability to see fine details, such as text in a book or features on someone‚Äôs face. When you have an epiretinal membrane, straight lines may appear wavy. In severe cases, your vision may become severely distorted or blurred. 

Vision loss from an epiretinal membrane typically starts out so mild you may not even notice it, and then it becomes increasingly severe over time. At Austin Eye Center, Dr. Makkouk uses innovative surgical techniques that may improve your vision with an epiretinal membrane. 

What causes an epiretinal membrane?

Most of the time, epiretinal membranes are due to age-related changes in your eye. Certain factors may increase your risk for developing an epiretinal membrane, including:

  • Advanced age
  • Having a history of eye injuries or surgeries
  • Certain eye diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy
  • Having a history of retinal tears or detachments
  • Having an existing epiretinal membrane in the other eye

Just because you have these risk factors doesn't mean you will get an epiretinal membrane. Similarly, epiretinal membranes may develop in people with no risk factors.

How are epiretinal membranes diagnosed and treated?

Dr. Makkouk may diagnose an epiretinal membrane during your eye exam at Austin Eye Center. He uses state-of-the-art tests, such as optical coherence tomography, which can reveal an epiretinal membrane even before you experience symptoms. 

After he diagnoses your condition, Dr. Makkouk creates an individualized treatment plan. If your symptoms are mild, he may change the prescription of your glasses or contacts to improve your vision. 

Severe symptoms may require a surgical procedure, such as vitrectomy. This procedure involves removing some of the scar tissue and restoring the macula to its proper position. Dr. Makkouk completed a fellowship in retinal surgery at Yale University and is highly skilled in the newest and most innovative techniques. 

For patient-centered care of epiretinal membranes, call Austin Eye Center or book an appointment online today.