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"How is an epiretinal membrane diagnosed?"
I have been trying to understand what's going on with my eye for weeks, and have been doing a lot of reading online. It looks like my symptoms are similar to an epiretinal membrane. If I go to a doctor, what would they do? How can I know for sure if this is an EM?
An epiretinal membrane is a disease where inflammation around the retina causes it to pucker out resulting in distorted vision. It can be associated with diabetes or occur for no apparent reason. Since it often occurs near the macula, it affects central vision which can make reading difficult. Although an ophthalmologist is the best type of doctor to see for an epiretinal membrane, it is probably okay for you to first see a primary care physician such as a family doctor or internal medicine doctor. He or she will know if an ophthalmology referral is warranted. The first thing that a doctor will do for anyone with visual complaints is a vision test. This will include having both your eyes checked individually. This is especially important with someone with an epiretinal membrane because they usually do not effect both eyes equally and at the same time. From there, you doctor will use an ophthalmoscope to look at your retina and determine if there is any inflammation or retinal changes that are worrisome for epiretinal membrane. Treatment for this condition is often surgical, but this is reserved for patients that have very severe problems with their vision. This is because the surgery comes with some risks that would be unacceptable for someone whose life is not significantly altered by the disease. Good luck with your evaluation.
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