Trypan blue staining of epiretinal membranes in proliferative vitreoretinopathy

Arch Ophthalmol. 2002 Feb;120(2):141-4. doi: 10.1001/archopht.120.2.141.


Objective: To determine whether trypan blue staining facilitates epiretinal membrane (ERM) removal in proliferative vitreoretinopathy.

Methods: In 10 patients undergoing vitrectomy for proliferative vitreoretinopathy, ERM peeling was performed without staining the tissue, until no additional ERMs were clearly visible. Then, after a fluid-air exchange, 0.06% trypan blue solution was applied onto the retinal surface. After 1 minute, all excess dye was removed and, after an air-fluid exchange, ERM peeling was completed. Excised ERM specimens were analyzed by transmission electron microscopy.

Main outcome measures: For each patient, the efficacy of trypan blue staining of ERMs during surgery was scored.

Results: In all patients, intraoperative staining of ERMs with trypan blue was found to be a useful adjunct, since the dye consistently improved direct visualization and delineation of ERMs and facilitated ERM removal. A clear contrast was created between the stained ERMs and the nonstaining, underlying retina. Electron microscopy showed that only ERM tissue was removed. No adverse reactions related to the use of the dye were observed up to 3 months after surgery.

Conclusions: Trypan blue may be an important new tool in the surgical management of proliferative vitreoretinopathy, since it may allow a more complete and safer ERM removal.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Coloring Agents*
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Ophthalmological
  • Epiretinal Membrane / complications
  • Epiretinal Membrane / diagnosis*
  • Epiretinal Membrane / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Staining and Labeling / methods
  • Trypan Blue*
  • Visual Acuity
  • Vitrectomy
  • Vitreoretinopathy, Proliferative / complications
  • Vitreoretinopathy, Proliferative / diagnosis*
  • Vitreoretinopathy, Proliferative / surgery


  • Coloring Agents
  • Trypan Blue