The impact of optical coherence tomography on surgical decision making in epiretinal membrane and vitreomacular traction

Trans Am Ophthalmol Soc. 2006:104:161-6.


Purpose: To compare retinal surgeons' recommendations for management of epiretinal membranes (ERM) and vitreomacular traction syndrome (VMT) based on clinical examination alone, with management based on examination supplemented by optical coherence tomography (OCT).

Methods: A prospective, masked clinical case series was conducted. Surgeons first assessed, on the basis of clinical examination only, whether ERM, VMT, or macular edema was present, questionably present, or absent and made a provisional management recommendation. The retina specialist then reviewed the OCT images, determined the presence or absence of ERM, VMT, or associated macular edema, and made a final management recommendation.

Results: Eighty-four eyes of 73 patients were examined. ERM was identified in 66 (78.6%) of 84 using clinical examination compared to 72 (85.7%) of 84 using OCT (P = .06). VMT was identified in five (6%) of 84 using clinical examination compared to 18 (21.4%) of 84 using OCT (P < .005). Macular edema was identified in 57 (67.9%) of 84 using clinical examination compared to 70 (83.3%) of 84 using OCT (P =.003). Surgical intervention was recommended in 33 cases: 19 (57.6%) based on clinical examination alone and 14 (42.4%) based on the combination of clinical examination and OCT findings.

Conclusions: OCT is more sensitive than clinical examination in detecting ERM, VMT, and associated macular edema. OCT influenced the recommendation for surgical intervention in 42.4% of patients scheduled for surgery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Decision Making
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Ophthalmological*
  • Epiretinal Membrane / diagnosis*
  • Epiretinal Membrane / surgery
  • Humans
  • Macular Edema / diagnosis*
  • Macular Edema / surgery
  • Ophthalmologic Surgical Procedures*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retinal Detachment / diagnosis*
  • Retinal Detachment / surgery
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence*
  • Visual Acuity
  • Vitreous Body / pathology*