gms | German Medical Science

23rd Annual Meeting of the German Retina Society

German Retina Society

24.09. - 25.09.2010, Freiburg

Idiopathic epiretinal membrane: a functional and morphological analysis

Meeting Abstract

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  • Jost Hillenkamp - University Eye Clinic Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel

German Retina Society. 23rd Annual Conference of the German Retina Society. Freiburg i. Br., 24.-25.09.2010. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2010. Doc10rg69

doi: 10.3205/10rg69, urn:nbn:de:0183-10rg697

This is the translated version of the article.
The original version can be found at:

Published: September 21, 2010

© 2010 Hillenkamp.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Macular thickness was measured in 33 eyes with optical coherence tomography (OCT) using the Retinal Thickness Map during long-term follow-up (8±4 weeks, 12±2 months, and 46±13 months) after surgical peeling of idiopathic epiretinal membrames (IEM). Foveal structure was analysed 46±13 months postop using Fourier-domain OCT. Thickness of individual retinal layers was measured in the horizontal midline with a manual segmentation procedure aided by a customized computer program. At last follow-up, 12 of 33 eyes had a foveal pit. The photoreceptor complex with inner/outer segment junction was intact in all eyes. Retinal thickness remained increased in the central and nasal fields of the Retinal Thickness Map. Compared to age-matched normal controls retinal layers remained significantly thickened in the fovea and nasal parafovea between the outer nuclear and the ganglion cell+inner plexiform layers. The thickness of the retinal nerve fiber layer and the photoreceptor complex were not different from controls. Morphological changes were correlated with best-corrected near- and distance visual acuity, reading speed, and metamorphopsia. Best-corrected distance visual acuity (logMAR) was 0.1±0.1 at last follow-up. Complementary to the functional and morphological investigations we classified IEM clinically in accordance with epidemiological studies as either cellophane-type or premacular fibrosis. IEM of both types were analysed with light- and electronmicroscopy, immunogold-electronmicroscopy, immunohistochemistry, and Western blot. The presence of high amounts of collagen type VI in cellophane-type membranes and the relative absence of collagen types I and II is the major structural difference to premacular fibrosis. The molecular differences between the two membrane types indicate different pathogenetic mechanisms during their formation.