Recovery after Vitrectomy for Epiretinal Membrane

written by Dr Kenneth Fong Choong Sian on 16 September 2013
Epiretinal membrane is also known as macula pucker or cellophane maculopathy. Recovery aftervitrectomy surgery to remove this fine scar tissue covering the macula can take up to 3 months. Surgery is only done if the patient notices distortion of vision , in other words, if straight lines look wavy or out of shape. Some patients may have symptoms for many months before deciding to have surgery. Visual recovery after surgery depends on how long the epiretinal membrane has been there. The longer it has been causing the symptoms, the longer it will take for visual improvement to be seen.
 
Is special posturing needed after surgery?
 
Vitrectomy surgery is now done with modern small incisions that do not require sutures. A small air bubble is usually left in the eyeball at the end of surgery to help close up the incision site. This air bubble will dissolve by itself after a few days. If there are no complications that happen during the vitrectomy surgery, like retinal detachment, the patient does not need to sleep with their face facing downwards. Special posturing is only needed after surgery for retinal diseases like macula hole, or ,retinal detachment.
 
What should I do or avoid after vitrectomy surgery for epiretinal membrane?
 
1. Wear an eye shield at night to prevent accidental rubbing of your operated eye while asleep
2. Use eye drops as instructed by your doctor
3. Avoid heavy lifting or straining for 1 week after surgery
4. Avoid getting water in your eye for 3 days after surgery. No swimming for at least 1 month after surgery!
5. Any type of food is fine after surgery but some traditions may tell you to avoid spicy food and seafood. This is
    entirely up to you.
More details can be found here: http://www.thestar.com.my/Lifestyle/Health/2011/11/27/Care-for-eye-surgery.aspx
 
Vitrectomy surgery for epiretinal membrane is safe and painless. Recovery is very quick and most patients can see an improvement within 2 weeks after surgery. The redness around the eye will take 2 weeks to disappear. You will see a small bubble moving around the eye and it will blur your vision for a few days after surgery. It will then dissolve by itself naturally. You may also see some floatersin the eye and this will also disappear. Sometimes, cataract can develop after vitrectomy surgeryand cataract surgery is then needed.