Peeling of internal limiting membrane during vitrectomy for complicated retinal detachment prevents epimacular membrane formation

Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2009 May;247(5):619-23. doi: 10.1007/s00417-008-1025-y. Epub 2008 Dec 24.


Background: To investigate the clinical benefit of internal limiting membrane (ILM) peeling at the macula for the prevention of epimacular membrane formation following vitreous surgery using silicone oil for the treatment of complicated retinal detachment.

Methods: This was a non-randomized, retrospective, interventional study of a case series. Patient charts were reviewed retrospectively for 20 consecutively recruited patients who underwent successful primary vitrectomy with ILM peeling at the macula using silicone oil (group 1) and 22 consecutively recruited patients who underwent successful primary vitrectomy using silicone oil without ILM peeling at the macula for complicated rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (group 2). The main outcome measures were distant visual acuity and epimacular membrane formation. The data were analyzed and compared using Fisher's Exact test, Pearson Chi-square test, independent t-test, Mann-Whitney U-test, and a repeated ANOVA.

Results: The mean age of patients was 52.7 +/- 12.6 years in group 1 and 53.2 +/- 13.3 years in group 2 (p = 0.89). The mean follow-up time was 24.6 +/- 7.6 weeks in group 1 and 34.1 +/- 12.6 weeks in group 2 (p = 0.01). Preoperatively, ten eyes in group 1 and 10 eyes in group 2 were pseudophakic; the macula was detached in all cases. Silicone oil had been removed from all eyes of both groups at least 3 months before the final examination. There were no significant differences between the two groups with regard to sex (p = 0.44), mean duration of retinal detachment (p = 0.12), mean preoperative visual acuity (logMAR), mean number of retinal breaks (p = 0.43), and grade of proliferative vitreoretinopathy (p = 0.35). The final visual acuity (logMAR) was 0.60 +/- 0.30 in group 1 and 0.72 +/- 0.35 in group 2 (p = 0.49). Four eyes in group 1 and two eyes in group 2 underwent cataract surgery during silicone oil removal. Epimacular membrane formation was observed in two eyes before silicone oil removal and in four eyes within 8 weeks after silicone oil removal in group 2. No epimacular membrane formation was seen in group 1 (p = 0.02).

Conclusion: ILM peeling at the macula during vitreous surgery with silicone oil for the treatment of complicated retinal detachment may prevent epimacular membrane formation without negatively affecting distant visual acuity.

MeSH terms

  • Basement Membrane / surgery*
  • Epiretinal Membrane / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pseudophakia / complications
  • Retinal Detachment / complications
  • Retinal Detachment / physiopathology
  • Retinal Detachment / surgery*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Silicone Oils / administration & dosage
  • Visual Acuity / physiology
  • Vitrectomy / methods*


  • Silicone Oils