Journal List > J Korean Ophthalmol Soc > v.60(12) > 1139584

J Korean Ophthalmol Soc. 2019 Dec;60(12):1216-1222. Korean.
Published online Dec 17, 2019.
©2019 The Korean Ophthalmological Society
The Clinical Characteristics of Spontaneous Separated Idiopathic Epiretinal Membrane
Dong Hyun Kang, MD and Seok Hyun Lee, MD
Department of Ophthalmology, Kim's Eye Hospital, Konyang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.

Address reprint requests to Seok Hyun Lee, MD. Kim's Eye Hospital, #136 Yeongsin-ro, Youngdeungpo-gu, Seoul 07301, Korea. Tel: 82-2-2639-7667, Fax: 82-2-2639-6359, Email:
Received Jul 12, 2019; Revised Aug 12, 2019; Accepted Nov 29, 2019.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



To investigate the clinical characteristics of spontaneous separation of idiopathic epiretinal membrane (ERM) patients without any surgical treatment.


Retrospective medical records analysis was performed for patients with spontaneous separation of the idiopathic ERM without treatment. The patients' age, average time until ERM separation, best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA), refractive error, intraocular pressure (IOP), optical coherence tomography (OCT) data, central macular thickness (CMT), and the presence of posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) were evaluated and recorded.


Twenty-two eyes of 22 patients were included in the study. The mean age of patients was 52.0 ± 8.6 years, and the average time until ERM separation was 14.1 ± 16.2 months. The average BCVA (logMAR) was 0.12 ± 0.12 before separation and improved (p = 0.032) to 0.07 ± 0.08 after separation. The average CMT before separation was 386.1 ± 63.2 µm, after separation, the average CMT decreased (p < 0.001) to 299.1 ± 46.7 µm. The differences in IOP and refractive error before and after ERM separation were not statistically significant. Not all patients experienced PVD before ERM separation, however, they all showed PVD after the separation.


ERM patients of a relatively young age and without PVD showed spontaneous separation of the ERM and improved visual acuity with PVD, which suggests that ERM could be improved through conservative observation without surgery.

Keywords: Epiretinal membrane; Foveal thickness; Optical coherence tomography; Spontaneous separation; Visual acuity


Figure 1
Opticalcoherence tomography images of macula with epiretinal membrane (A), and after spontaneous separation of epiretinal membrane in same eye (B). The central macular thickness decreased from 491 µm to 297 µm, and the patient's visual acuity (logMAR) was improved from 0.4 to 0.05. logMAR = logarithm of minimal angle of resolution.
Click for larger image

Figure 2
Opticalcoherence tomography images of macula with posterior vitreous adhesion (arrows) and epiretinal membrane (A), and posterior vitreous detachment (arrowheads) with spontaneous separated epiretinal membrane (B). The central macular thickness decreased from 337 µm to 275 µm.
Click for larger image

Figure 3
Fundus photograph (A, B) and opticalcoherence tomography images (C, D). Epiretinal membrane was shown at baseline images (A, C), and large floater (arrows) appeared after spontaneous separation of epiretinal membrane (B, D). The central macular thickness decreased from 401 µm to 298 µm.
Click for larger image


Table 1
Baseline characteristics of patients (n = 22)
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Table 2
BCVA and CMT at first visit, before spontaneous separation, and after spontaneous separation
Click for larger image


Conflicts of Interest:The authors have no conflicts to disclose.

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