Recurrent Epiretinal Membrane
Dr. Shashank Somani, Dr. Sarang Lambat, Dr. Prabhat Nangia, Dr. Vinay Nangia
Suraj Eye Institute, 559, New Colony, Sadar, Nagpur- 440001.
A female, 56 years of age, came with complaints of gradual progressive diminution and distortion of vision in the right eye since 2 months. She was known case of systemic hypertension since 10 years and was on treatment. Her best corrected visual acuity was 6/18, N12 in right eye (RE) and 6/9, N6 in left eye (LE). Anterior segment examination showed presence of grade 1 nuclear sclerosis in both the eyes. Intraocular pressure recorded by Goldmann applanation tonometer was 16 mmHg in both eyes.
The patient was advised to undergo right eye pars plana vitrectomy with Epiretinal membrane peeling. She underwent surgery on 19/11/2021.
Our patient presented with complaints of diminution and distortion of vision in the right eye since 2 months and on examination there was presence of a hyper reflective membrane which was causing significant distortion of normal foveal contour (Fig 1,3). The schitic changes seen on the OCT scans (Fig 3,4) point towards presence of significant and long standing retinal traction. Based on the clinical and OCT findings, the patient was advised to undergo pars plana vitrectomy with epiretinal membrane peeling. Pars plana vitrectomy with membrane peeling is the standard treatment for surgical removal of the ERM, with reported rates of visual improvement ranging between 67% and 82%. Post vitrectomy patient did well and the vision improved to 6/12 from 6/18 one month following surgery. There was significant resolution of the schitic changes and the edema of retinal layers (Fig 7a, 7b). On 3 months follow up there was recurrence of epiretinal membrane with some schitic changes and loss of photoreceptors. (Fig 7c)
ILM peeling is a surgical technique commonly used today to treat various vitreoretinal disorders including epiretinal membranes, macular holes, macular puckers, diabetic macular edema, retinal detachment, retinal vein occlusions, vitreomacular traction, optic pit maculopathy, and Terson syndrome.
There is a difference in the opinion among surgeons regarding removal of ILM along with ERM. There is evidence in literature that removing the ILM helps reduce the chances of an ERM recurrence, as this removes any residual ERM cells that might have been left on the surface of the ILM, and that the ILM can act as a scaffold for their proliferation.
The ILM plays an important role in retinal function because it is the basal lamina of Müller cells that are involved in the generation of ERG b-waves. The preservation of the acellular structure would help to preserve functions of the retina. Also ILM peeling is known to cause mechanical trauma to the retinal nerve fiber layer.
Our patient showed a significant epiretinal membrane that gave an appearance of growth from above the superotemporal vessels downwards towards the macula. There was also appearance of three areas where the epiretinal membrane was thicker ( Fig. 1 blue arrows). All areas were dealt with surgically. Whether these areas are important in fostering the growth of the epiretinal membrane or represent irregular proliferation on the retinal surface is not so well understood. It is also important to recognise the importance of the effect of epiretinal membrane on the retinal layers, including the possible loss of foveal photoreceptors, which would affect the visual outcomes. Adequate surgical removal following the principles of epiretinal membrane surgery was done. However the regrowth was rather rapid and furthermore resulted in similar changes as were seen preoperatively. It is likely that the patient will require further management.
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Dr. Sarang Lambat
Suraj Eye Institute
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org