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Unexplained vision loss following removal of epiretinal membrane


Purpose To report unexplained severe central vision loss accompanied by a dense central scotoma as an uncommon complication following epiretinal membrane removal.

Methods Retrospective, multicentred, case series.

Results Six patients underwent uncomplicated vitrectomy surgery between 2000 and 2007 at four separate retina practices for removal of an epiretinal membrane. Preoperative vision ranged from 20/60 to 20/100, with a median of 20/70. On the first day postoperatively, all patients noted decreased vision ranging from counting fingers to light perception and were found to have a dense central scotoma. Posterior segment examination revealed a white, oedematous macula in all affected eyes. Vision improved minimally during the follow-up period, which ranged from 2 months to 5 years. The final vision ranged from 20/200 to hand movements. No anatomic or physiologic cause for the decreased vision and central scotoma was identified.

Conclusions While uncommon, severe, permanent, central vision loss accompanied by a dense central scotoma can occur following epiretinal membrane removal and should be considered when assessing the risks and benefits of such surgery.

  • Unexplained visual loss
  • epiretinal membrane removal
  • vitrectomy
  • central scotoma
  • macula
  • treatment surgery

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