Morphologically functional correlations of macular pathology connected with epiretinal membrane formation in spectral optical coherence tomography (SOCT)

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Preretinal membrane formation is a frequently diagnosed disease in ophthalmology. Its pathogenesis is unclear. Optical coherence tomography is an important diagnostic tool in patients with epiretinal membranes. In our study we use high-speed and high-resolution spectral OCT. Our goal was to present different forms of ERM and to analyze the influence of some morphological changes on visual acuity.


We evaluated 44 cases of preretinal fibrosis. Patients were divided into two groups depending on macula morphology. High-resolution and 3D SOCT scans were acquired from all patients and analyzed. Maximum retinal thickness and retinal thickness in the fovea were measured. Type of ERM, presence of retinal cysts and photoreceptor defects were recorded. We analyzed the influence of those data on visual acuity.


Globally adherent membranes were the most frequent membrane architecture type in each group. The mean visual acuity in both groups did not significantly differ. Presence of retinal cystic formation had no influence on visual acuity. A statistically significant correlation was observed between central retinal thickness and VA in Group 2 (A = −0.488; p = 0.006). Photoreceptor defect was observed in 4 patients in group 1 and 11 in group 2. Patients with photoreceptor defect had significantly lower visual acuity (P = 0.04 for Group 1 and P = 0.002 for Group 2).


SOCT pictures of eyes with ERM are diverse. Thanks to high-resolution and 3D scanning protocols, more information can be gathered. Morphological changes in the retina, such as oedema with cystic spaces, lamellar macular holes, macular pseudoholes and photoreceptor defects, were present in patients with ERM. Estimation of those changes may be an important prognostic factor in cases of epiretinal membranes.

The authors do not have any financial interest in the reported research.
The authors have a full control of all the primary data and agree to allow Graefes Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology to review them, if requested.