Background: To determine the prevalence and risk factors associated with idiopathic epiretinal membranes (iERM) in a Chinese population aged 60 years or older in Beixinjing Blocks, Shanghai.
Methods: This population-based study consisted of 3727 participants (89.7% of the eligible). It was performed to describe the prevalence of iERM and possible demographic, systemic, and ocular factors associated with iERM. Each participant underwent a standardized interview and comprehensive ophthalmic examination. iERM was identified and graded from retinal photographs. Then, a case-control study comparing the participants with vs. without iERM was performed to further study the associations between iERM and blood biochemical test results (including fasting plasma glucose, serum creatinine, total cholesterol, and triglyceride), ocular biological parameters (including the axial length, corneal curvature, refractive diopter, intraocular press, and anterior chamber depth), and the data of optical coherence tomography.
Results: The prevalence of iERM was 1.02%. iERM was significantly associated with diabetes (OR: 2.457; 95% CI: 1.137, 5.309) and a higher level of education (OR: 1.48; 95% CI: 1.123, 1.952). Blood biochemical test results and ocular biological parameters showed no significant differences between the iERM and control groups, whereas the incidence of posterior vitreous detachment in the iERM group was much higher than in the control group (26.5% vs. 8.8%), but this difference was not statistically significant. Moreover, the eyes with iERM had poorer visual acuity than the eyes without iERM (P<0.05).
Conclusions: In Beixinjing Blocks, Shanghai, iERM was relatively rare, was associated with diabetes and a higher level of education, and caused a substantial decrease in visual acuity.