Purpose: To examine the foveal structure and vasculature in eyes with an idiopathic epiretinal membrane (ERM).
Methods: Forty-nine eyes of 48 patients with an idiopathic ERM were studied. The superficial foveal avascular zone (FAZ) was measured by optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA; RTVue XR Avanti, Optovue Inc., Fremont, CA), and the central foveal thickness (CFT) was measured by swept source OCT (DRI-OCT, Topcon, Japan). Twenty eyes underwent vitrectomy with internal limiting membrane (ILM) peeling, and the FAZ and CFT were evaluated pre- and postoperatively. Forty-nine eyes of 49 age-matched healthy subjects were also examined as control.
Results: The FAZ in eyes with an ERM was significantly smaller than that of the control eyes (0.188±0.16 mm2 vs 0.328±0.14 mm2, P<0.01). The CFT in eyes with an ERM was significantly thicker than that of control eyes (315±0.14 μm vs 193±0.14 μm, P<0.01). The size of the FAZ was strongly correlated with the CFT (ERM, R = -0.753; control, R = -0.61, both P<0.01). The postoperative size of the FAZ was not significantly different from the preoperative size (0.115 mm2 vs 0.128 mm2, P = 0.17) but the CFT was significantly thinner (370 μm vs 288 μm, P<0.01) after the vitrectomy with ILM peeling in 20 eyes.
Conclusions: The results indicate that an ERM might affect the morphology and vasculature of not only the inner but also the outer retina before and after vitrectomy with ILM peeling. The FAZ area might have been affected by the ILM peeling.