Purpose: To evaluate the rate of epiretinal membrane (ERM) recurrence in eyes that underwent ERM peeling surgery at least 5 years earlier.
Methods: Retrospective interventional case series study of 37 patients (15 women and 22 men; mean age, 70 ± 7.6 years) operated on for ERM removal with a follow-up of at least 5 years. The patients underwent testing for visual acuity, an ophthalmic examination, and optical coherence tomography imaging, all of which were assessed preoperatively, postoperatively, and at the 5-year follow-up.
Results: Visual acuity significantly improved at 1 year after peeling compared with baseline (P = 0.045), and the improved results were maintained at 5 years (P = 0.804) 0.766 logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution (Snellen 6/35). The central macular thickness decreased significantly at the 1-year follow-up compared with baseline and continued to decrease as measured at the 5-year follow-up (P = 0.04). At 5 years, the ERM recurrence rate reached 58% (28% extrafoveal). Photoreceptor atrophy and retinal pigment epithelium changes correlated with diabetes mellitus (P = 0.028).
Conclusion: The recurrence rate of ERM after peeling surgery was reported as being around 5% to 12%. It was 58% in the current study. Because the recurrent ERM is generally mild, visual acuity was unaffected.