This is a surgery performed by a retinal specialist to remove an epiretinal membrane from the eye. An epiretinal membrane is a clear membrane that can form on the retina. While normally innocuous, this membrane may contract and can make the retinal surface “wrinkled” leading to vision loss. With a membrane peel surgery, the retina doctor goes into the eye and gently peels this membrane off to relieve traction. Then, a gas bubble is typically injected into the eye. This gas bubble lasts for several weeks and is designed to gently press on the retina and flatten the retina back into a smooth configuration. Since gas floats, a patient may be required to keep their head in a downward position for several weeks. This positioning can be a little harsh on the body, and patients come back to our office looking a little disheveled. This inconvenience is worth it if some vision is regained. Membrane peel surgery is not always successful, so most retina doctors like to wait until the vision deteriorates to a point they feel that the “benefits outweigh the risks” for the operation.
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