Purpose: To evaluate the morphologic restoration of retinal anatomy after surgery for epiretinal membrane (ERM) peeling using spectral domain optical coherence tomography. Correlation of retinal structure with visual outcome.
Design: Retrospective consecutive case series.
Methods: Thirty-four consecutive eyes with ERM underwent surgery with 1 year follow-up examination. Spectral domain optical coherence tomography scans were analyzed preoperatively and 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months postoperative. Best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) using Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study charts was measured at each visit.
Results: All eyes showed a significant improvement of BCVA after ERM peeling (P = 0.002). The time point of BCVA and retinal restoration seen on spectral domain optical coherence tomography occurred simultaneously and varied between individuals (occurrence of BCVA: mean, 4.82 months; retinal restoration: mean, 4.24 months). At 3 months, the retinal anatomical restoration rate was 70% and 88% at 6 months.
Conclusion: Restoration of the retinal anatomical structure predominantly occurs within the first 3 months post-ERM peeling. An improvement of BCVA and anatomical retinal restoration after ERM removal varies in individuals. If retinal layers fully restore in their anatomical structure, BCVA improves at the same time point.