Detection of early visual impairment in patients with epiretinal membrane

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Patients with epiretinal membrane sometimes complain of impaired central visual function, despite good best corrected visual acuity (BCVA), as measured by visual acuity (VA) charts. Here, we evaluate early epiretinal membrane–induced changes in central VA.


Subjects were 72 eyes of 36 patients with epiretinal membrane in only one eye and a BCVA in each eye better than 1.0, as measured by conventional Landolt C chart, at the Retina Division Clinic of the Department of Ophthalmology, Keio University Hospital, between December 2010 and November 2011. The conventional Landolt VA, functional VA (FVA) and contrast VA measurements were taken after a general eye examination. For the FVA, Landolt optotypes were sequentially displayed every 2 seconds, which size was changed according to the correctness of the answer. To exclude the influence of other diseases, a standard Schirmer test was performed to diagnose dry eye, and corneal and lens densities were evaluated.


Average BCVA measured by Landolt C chart was not changed between affected and unaffected fellow eyes. However, the affected eyes showed a poorer FVA score (0.21 ± 0.12, affected; 0.09 ± 0.12, fellow) and visual maintenance ratio (VMR) (0.90 ± 0.04, affected; 0.94 ± 0.04, fellow), measured by the FVA system, and contrast VA score (0.35 ± 0.11, affected; 0.25 ± 0.14, fellow) than fellow eyes. The FVA and contrast VA values were correlated with the presence of epiretinal membrane, but not with the presence of dry eye, cataract and corneal densities.


FVA and contrast VA results reflected early changes in central visual function caused by epiretinal membrane, which were not detected by conventional Landolt BCVA.

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