Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Racial difference in the prevalence of epiretinal membrane between Caucasians and Asians
  1. R Kawasaki1,
  2. J J Wang1,2,
  3. P Mitchell2,
  4. T Aung3,4,5,
  5. S-M Saw3,6,
  6. T Y Wong1,3,4,5,6,
  7. for the Singapore Malay Eye Study Group
  1. 1
    Centre for Eye Research Australia, University of Melbourne, Australia
  2. 2
    Centre for Vision Research, University of Sydney, Australia
  3. 3
    Singapore Eye Research Institute, Singapore
  4. 4
    Singapore National Eye Centre, Singapore
  5. 5
    Department of Ophthalmology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore
  6. 6
    Department of Community, Occupational and Family Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine National University of Singapore, Singapore
  1. Professor T Y Wong, Centre for Eye Research Australia, The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, 32 Gisborne Street, Melbourne 3002, Australia; twong{at}


Background/aims: To describe the prevalence and risk factors of epiretinal membranes (ERM) in Asian Malays and to compare this with a white population.

Methods: The Singapore Malay Eye Study examined 3280 persons (78.7% response rate) aged 40–80 years in Singapore during 2004–6. ERM were graded from retinal photographs using standardised procedures at the University of Sydney, and rates were compared with those from the Blue Mountains Eye Study (BMES).

Results: Of the 3,280 participants, 3,265 had sufficient quality photographs for grading. The age-standardised prevalence of ERM was 7.9% (95% CI 7.1 to 8.7%) in the Singapore Census population. The prevalence of ERM was higher in Malays than in Caucasians from the BMES (age-standardised prevalence: 15.8% (CI 14.2 to 17.2%) in Malays vs 6.8% (CI 5.9 to 7.6%) in Caucasians). Of the 384 persons with ERM, 124 (32.3%) had secondary ERM. Age, female gender, hyperopia and narrower retinal arteriolar diameter were associated with higher prevalence of ERM, after adjusting for age and/or gender.

Conclusions: The prevalence of ERM in Asian Malays was higher than that in the Caucasians. Risk factors for ERM were older age, female gender, hyperopic refraction and narrower retinal arteriolar diameter.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Funding: This study was supported by the National Medical Research Council Grants No. 0796/2003, 0863/2004 and CSI/0002/2005, and Biomedical Research Council Grant No. 501/1/25-5.

  • Competing interests: None.

  • Ethics approval: Ethics approval was obtained from the Institutional Review Board of the Singapore Eye Research Institute, Singapore.

  • Patient consent: Obtained.