We used vitreous surgery to remove idiopathic epiretinal membranes from the macular area in 70 consecutive cases. The abnormal tissue was successfully removed in each case. Vision improved postoperatively in 61 eyes (87%), remained unchanged in six eyes (9%), and worsened in three eyes (4%). However, at the time of final examination vision was improved in only 47 eyes (67%), primarily because of the occurrence or progression of nuclear sclerosis, which occurred in 38 of 60 phakic eyes (63%). Four preoperative factors were associated with final visual acuity of 20/60 or better: (1) initial vision of 20/100 or better, (2) shorter preoperative duration of blurred vision, (3) thin epiretinal membrane, and (4) absence of traction retinal detachment.
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