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To investigate the clinical features associated with early visual loss in patients with idiopathic epiretinal membrane.Patients with idiopathic epiretinal membrane with visual acuity of ≥20/40, intact ellipsoid zone, and follow-up duration of at least 24 months were included in this retrospective age-matched control study. The disk–fovea–vascular (DFV) distance, central macular thickness, membrane configuration, and ellipsoid zone were assessed using fundus photography and spectral domain optical coherence tomography.We analyzed the progression group (n = 15; vision loss ≥2 lines because of membrane progression) and the control group (n = 30; age matched). Compared with the controls, the mean DFV distance decreased (P < 0.001), central macular thickness increased (P = 0.017), and the ratio of the follow-up and baseline DFV distances (traction index of membrane) was significantly lower (P = 0.001) in the progression group. No differences were observed in the follow-up membrane configuration and ellipsoid zone. Factors associated with early vision loss were the DFV distance change (ρ = 0.657; P = 0.008) and traction index of membrane (ρ = −0.636; P = 0.011). Their area under receiver-operating characteristic curves were significant (DFV distant change: 0.915, traction index of membrane: 0.910, respectively; P < 0.001, both).Assessing the DFV distance is useful in quantifying the tangential contraction of macula and the prediction of vision loss in idiopathic epiretinal membrane.