To compare the clinical outcomes and the rate of complications of 27-gauge transconjunctival nonvitrectomizing vitreous surgery (NVS) and of 25-gauge transconjunctival sutureless vitrectomy surgery for idiopathic epiretinal membrane removal.
In this prospective randomized study, 83 phakic eyes of 83 consecutive patients with an idiopathic epiretinal membrane were randomized to receive 27-gauge NVS (NVS-group) or 25-gauge vitrectomy (Standard-group). Main outcome measures were best-corrected visual acuity, central retinal thickness, nuclear density units' changes, and rate of complications.
Thirty-nine eyes of the Standard-group and 40 of the NVS-group were considered in final analysis. Mean best-corrected visual acuity improved significantly in both groups, with a significant better result at 12 months in NVS-group (P = 0.039; t-test). Central retinal thickness decreased significantly in both groups (P < 0.001, Tukey test), without significant difference between the two groups at any time point. At 12 months, nuclear density increased significantly in the Standard-group (analysis of variance, P < 0.001), and it did not change in the NVS-group (analysis of variance, P = 0.537). Epiretinal membrane recurred in 5.1% of eyes in the Standard-group and in 7.5% of eyes in the NVS-group (Fisher's exact test, P = 1.000).
The 27-gauge NVS is an effective surgical procedure in eyes with epiretinal membrane and it induces less progression of nuclear sclerosis than 25-gauge vitrectomy.