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Vitrectomy for Epiretinal Membrane

Vitrectomy, a surgical procedure, is the only treatment option available to treat the epiretinal membrane when vision declines and affects daily activities.

Vitrectomy is generally performed as an outpatient procedure. In most cases, you can go home after the surgery and resume normal non-strenuous activities the day after.

Surgery is performed under local anesthesia. Your surgeon uses a microscope and tiny surgical instruments to perform the procedure. Three small incisions are made in the sclera (white outer wall of the eye). The procedure involves the removal of the vitreous gel and blood from the vitreous cavity and replacement of the vitreous with a special saline solution that resembles the natural vitreous in the eye. Following this, the epiretinal membrane is peeled off from the surface of the macula using microscopic forceps.

Once the surgery is complete, fine absorbable sutures are used to close the tiny incisions. With newer surgical techniques and instrumentation, the surgery can be performed through tiny 'self-sealing' incisions without the need for sutures. Newer techniques also promote faster healing and minimize post-operative eye irritation.

You are asked to wear a patch on your eye until the following day and would be given eye drops and ointment to use for several weeks after surgery to aid healing.

Most patients have better vision after vitrectomy. However, it can take several months to notice a significant change in vision. The amount of vision improvement and the time taken varies from one person to another and depends on the severity of the epiretinal membrane and the level of vision impairment it has caused, and also other eye disorders that were present.

Complications of vitrectomy include infection, bleeding, retinal detachment, cataract progression, vision loss or double vision.

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