Macular epiretinal membrane (MEM)

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Macular epiretinal membrane (MEM)

What is MEM?

Macular epiretinal membrane (MEM) means tissue grows over the surface of the retina in the macular area that can contract and cause a loss of sight and image distortion.

What causes it?

It is caused by some cells being deposited over the macula that usually come from the retina, but can come from the layers located below the retina, such as the pigment epithelium.

These cells secrete collagen, forming a mesh, and can then apply traction to the collagen. Since this tissue is attached to the retina, when it contracts the retina also contracts and warps.

How can it be prevented?

These membranes most commonly appear in patients over the age of 50, but can also occur at any age. They are sometimes a result of a retinal hole, which enables cells to pass through the retina from the sub-retinal area.

It is therefore very important that before symptoms appear that could imply a retinal hole, such as floaters or flashing lights, you see your ophthalmologist to have these holes immediately repaired. In this way you can also avoid retinal detachment.

It can also appear after ocular surgery, hence post-operative monitoring is very important.

The most common symptoms are loss of sight, blurred vision or image distortion.

Lines may be seen distorted and numbers and letters can appear to jump out of line.

It is very important to monitor that a retinal detachment is not being formed by examination in the post-operative period and seeing an ophthalmologist if you suffer any of these symptoms.

The most suitable treatment for MEM is a vitrectomy.

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