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To determine whether preoperative fluorescein angiograms can be used to predict visual prognosis in eyes undergoing surgical removal of idiopathic epiretinal membranes.A retrospective study of preoperative fluorescein angiographic findings in cases of idiopathic epimacular membrane removal during vitreous surgery was conducted. Of 422 consecutive cases, 229 met the criteria for minimum follow-up period of 6 months. Angiograms from these 229 cases were analyzed in a standardized, masked fashion for macular edema, retinal vascular distortion, and contraction of the foveal avascular zone.Visual improvement was greatest in 7 eyes (3%) with the most severe degree of macular edema (P = 0.0215). No difference in visual outcome was noted between eyes with less severe macular edema or no macular edema. Change in visual acuity was not associated with the extent of retinal vascular distortion (P = 0.477) or contraction of the foveal avascular zone (P = 0.248)The presence of macular edema on preoperative fluorescein angiography is not predictive of a poor visual outcome in eyes undergoing surgery for idiopathic epiretinal membranes. In general, preoperative fluorescein angiography is not useful in predicting visual prognosis in these cases.