An epiretinal membrane is a tough sheet of tissue that grows on the top of your retina (the "photographic film") in the back of your eye. With time it can shrink and crinkle up, like cellophane, causing distortion in your vision.
What causes this membrane to form? Well, cells from other parts of your eye start to float around between the vitreous (jelly) inside your eyeball and your retina. They sometimes come to rest on the retina and, with time, can grow....almost like lichen on a rock in your backyard.
In most cases there is no history of anything that caused these cells to grow...it just happens. In many patients the membrane never causes enough of a problem to be an issue and no treatment is needed.
In other cases, however, vision is compromised and the membrane has to be removed. This is done by a surgery called a vitrectomy
and is done by a retina surgeon.
I do not recommend surgery for epiretinal membranes unless the vision has dropped so low that the patient is unable to do the things she needs to do and the decrease in vision can be attributed to the membrane.
At 20/40 vision I would say you are right on the edge of where surgery may be the right treatment for you.
So. What is the take home message? One. Make an appointment with an ophthalmologist for a second opinion and, two, don't panic. Everything should be OK.
Does this make sense to you?
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See. I told you I type slow ;)